Evolving business models are driven by OTT applications

The mobile business model is inevitably evolving from voice and SMS to a mobile Internet access model. The first generation of mobile phones provided voice services, the second generation brought SMS to consumers, and ever since 2.5G it has been about better and faster data. Social media applications drive broadband adoption and data consumption. Policy-makers and regulators should be more concerned with stimulating network investment into 3G+ and less with attempting to protect out-dated business models of operators. Read the full article here.

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Sonatel Group delivers another solid financial performance

Sonatel Group delivers another solid financial performance for the 2018 financial year, with a mobile revenue growth again above 10%. Data revenues grew to CFA 192 billion, a phenomenal 41.3% increase compared to 2017. Sonatel maintains a return on equity of 28% and an EBITDA margin above 45%, both indicators of a highly profitable mobile operator.  The temporary drop in ARPU for Sonatel Mali in 2017 reversed in 2018 indicating potentially increasing revenues for Sonatel Mali in 2019. Sonatel’s claim of losing CFA 20 billion (link) to OTTs is somewhat puzzling given that OTTs may compete with voice and SMS but […]

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OTT tax causes massive decline in estimated internet users in Uganda

The UCC tweeted out the latest figures on the impact of the OTT taxes. The estimated number of Internet users dropped by nearly 30% between March and September 2018, indicating even more severe consequences of the OTT tax than anticipated in the RIS policy brief based on July 2018 data. The other story behind the data released by the UCC is that Internet users changed the way they use social media. People paying the OTT tax and the number of Internet users both dropped by around 15% between July and September 2018. But tax revenues from the OTT tax decreased […]

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The cost of smartphones is no longer the main obstacle to broadband adoption on MTN Africa’s network

Among all of MTN’s operations in Africa, only Swaziland has a higher number of active data users than number of smartphones on the network (data for Botswana was not available). This implies that smartphone affordability is no longer the main obstacle to mobile broadband use, given that some smartphone owners are not active data users. In Liberia, there are even 3 times more smartphones on the network compared to active data users. For rural Africa, in particular, there are several reasons why smartphone owners may not use data or do so only intermittently. One is mobile broadband coverage. Some smartphone […]

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Maroc Telecom’s international mobile service revenues continue to grow

Maroc Telecom owns or manages mobile operators in Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Togo, and the Central African Republic but only reports for these countries as a group in Moroccan Dirham (MAD). Mobile revenues dipped slightly for some quarters but the general trend across its operations is stable or increasing. Since the use of OTT apps has increased consistently in the past three years, the revenue fluctuations are likely to be operational in nature or due to currency fluctuations and not linked to OTT apps.

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MTN Africa’s volatile revenues

Generally, MTN has experienced revenue growth for its African operations, except for Guinea and Liberia, over the past five years. MTN Guinea and MTN Liberia experienced a significant downward trend in revenues, which can be partly attributed to the severe economic downturn as a result of the Ebola crisis. Figure 1 also illustrates that multiple factors have an impact on revenues, including   own product design and product design of competitors; quality of service of own network and that of competitors; and the general regulatory and economic conditions. The interaction of these factors can lead to significant revenue volatility,like that […]

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Airtel Africa’s road to profitability

Airtel Africa’s operation turned profitable the first time in 2018. The strong data revenue growth is the result of increased mobile broadband coverage. Airtel’s broadband RANs nearly doubled between June 2017 and September 2018 (Figure 4). Airtel Africa’s strong results are remarkable as voice revenue, minutes per subscriber and overall minutes on its network all increased. Data revenues, per subscriber and overall MBs on its network increased even faster (Figures 1-3). Airtel Africa demonstrates that minutes sold to customers depends more on network infrastructure and pricing in relation to competitors than other factors. It also demonstrates that expanding network coverage […]

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Unleash, not squeeze, Uganda’s ICT sector

In July 2018, the Ugandan government imposed new taxes on the ICT sector in the form of excise duties on social media use and mobile money services. Two new excise duties were introduced: a mobile money tax of 1% on the transaction value of payments, transfers and withdrawals and a social media tax of 200 UGX per day. The excise duty on mobile money (MM) fees was also increased from 10% to 15%. The additional taxes increase the cost of both data consumption and mobile money usage and will lead to slower broadband and mobile money adoption. Immediately after the […]

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