Gabon’s telecoms sector is undergoing an important shift in 2014. The highly competitive market will see two of its four operators merge, potentially changing the balance with the traditional market leader.
The long-awaited launch of 3G service in April 2014 is helping to open new avenues for growth in Gabon’s increasingly saturated mobile telecommunications sector. Subscriber numbers continue to rise, but with real penetration of nearly 100%, future growth will come from the introduction of higher-value services. Competition is fierce with four operators serving a relatively small market, and providers are working to expand their networks and boost service quality.
Gabon aims to transition to a digital economy by 2016, supported by $68m in public and private investment in national infrastructure planned for 2013-14.
Commercialisation of access to the long-awaited Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) fibre-optic cable, expected in early 2015, should propel Gabon’s IT sector forward in the next year. The public sector continues to be the primary digital consumer, but demand for internet connectivity, IT hardware and services is growing rapidly. For now, the market continues to be held back by limited broadband capacity, so 2014 will be focused on efforts to commercialise access to the ACE cable and to expand IT infrastructure both in Gabon and the broader sub-region to meet rising demand.
This chapter contains interviews with Alain Ba Oumar, President, Federation of Operators of Electronic Communications of Gabon; and Axcèle Kissangou-Mouelé, Managing Director, Société de Patrimoine des Infrastructures Numeriques.
The long-awaited launch of 3G service in April 2014 is helping to open new avenues for growth in Gabon’s increasingly saturated mobile telecommunications sector. Subscriber numbers continue to rise, but with real penetration of nearly 100%, future growth will come from the introduction of higher-value services. With four operators serving a market of around 1.63m people, competition is already fierce, and providers are working to improve the quality of service and expand their networks in order…
After several years of delays, Gabon issued two 3G/4G licences in the first half of 2014 and saw the tentative launch of the country’s first 3G service in April. The absence of high-speed mobile and fixed internet connections has been an obstacle to the development of the country’s economy and, most notably, the government’s goal of transitioning to a digital economy by 2016. With Airtel already providing faster data connections in Libreville and Gabon Telecom to follow before the end of 2014,…
Interview:Alain Ba Oumar
What can be done to encourage better communication between the public and the private sector?
ALAIN BA OUMAR: It is true that until the creation of FOCEG, every single private provider had its own development strategy and its own contacts to communicate with the public sector. Too many interlocutors, representatives and complimentary entities, such as the Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services; the National Agency for Digital Infrastructure…
What are the remaining main obstacles for highspeed connection in Gabon?
AXCÉLEKISSANGOU-MOUELE:We need to accelerate the construction programme of digital infrastructure to achieve the goals of the Digital Gabon plan. This plan consists of six digital objectives that are simultaneously divided into 19 programmes, which include like construction of the submarine cable, the construction of a national broadband backbone, and construction of a…
Commercialisation of access to the long-awaited Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) fibre-optic cable, expected in early 2015, is expected to propel Gabon’s IT sector forward in the next year. The state has set ambitious goals for the sector, including the construction of a nationwide fibre-optic backbone, the creation of a network of IT parks, and the development of a range of social applications in e-government and e-learning. Gabon aims to transition to a digital economy by 2016, supported by $68m…