ICT Evidence Portal

The ICT Evidence portal seeks to support evidence based ICT policy and regulation.

Regulators and policy makers are often lobbied from various sides with contradicting claims.

During the past 10 years, incumbent mobile operators in Africa have sought protection from new entrants from regulators and policy makers, arguing that they have lost billions due to termination rate reductions. Incumbents have lobbied policy makers and regulators to allow them to charge above cost termination rates.

Similarly, in 2018, incumbent mobile operators have started to demand protection from competition from over the top applications (OTTs), again arguing that they lose billions in revenues, this time to OTTs.

Generally, the revenues of a mobile operator depends on many interrelated factors, 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.

To evaluate these claims, regulators and policy makers need to analyse audited financial statements from all licensees in the ICT sector and assess the various factors that influence MNO revenues.

This portal supports them in this task by collating publicly available data and objectively assessing claims made in ongoing debates between mobile operators and regulators and policy makers.

The portal makes use of published audited financial statements, investor relations presentations, data from national statistical agencies and data published by regulators.


Regulatory intervention in the market caused the decline in mobile operator revenues in 2017. The removal of three licensees from the market during the same period has lowered competition and meant that prices are not declining as fast as the rest of Africa. In 2018, with some of the negative regulatory interventions resolved, ARPUs and subscriber numbers increased again.

Burkina Faso

Only limited revenue data is available for Burkina Faso. However, SMS and voice traffic is still growing and international outgoing voice traffic is constant. The low 3G coverage means that Burkina’s mobile operators are limited in the ability to grow data revenues. OTTs are not the cause of static revenues.


The new tax on mobile applications hasn't been enforced yet and is unlikely to yield substantial revenues for the state. If the tax does yield substantial revenues for the state, it would have negative effects on the ICT sector, which is already suffering under the combination of poor economic climate and government intervention.

Cabo Verde

SMS and voice traffic has remained steady, indicating that OTT apps have not had a negative impact on the market.

Côte d'Ivoire

Sonatel (Orange) and MTN show strong revenue growth.


Revenues have increased significantly since 2013. 80% 3G coverage and good 4G coverage means that Ghana is able to take advantage of the transition to data.


Sonatel Guinea’s revenues have increased while MTN’s have declined. Other factors, such as GDP growth, exchange rate fluctuations, state of competition, etc. are more likely to have impacted on MTN revenues than OTTs.


Revenues have increased significantly since 2013. 3G and 4G coverage is low, showing that Bissau is not well placed to take advantage of growing data demand.


Safaricom dominates the Kenyan mobile market. Total and voice revenues have increased every year since 2011. MPESA makes up 27% of overall revenues and is an example of a successful OTT strategy.


Revenues have declined for both MTN and Orange. However, Liberia has undergone severe macro economic shocks over the past few years. Q2 2018 saw a rebound in revenues for Orange Liberia.


Revenues have increased significantly for Orange (Sonatel) since 2013. However, the low penetration of 4G means that Mali is not well-placed for the transition to a data-only business model.


The delayed release of 3G and 4G spectrum and the lack of network investment in 4G infrastructure is the likely cause for declining revenues in Niger.


MTN’s revenues increased between 2013 and 2016. In 2017, revenues declined due to the disconnection of 8.8 million subscribers as part of a SIM registration requirement. Data prices have been the subject of several price floor regulations (subsequently withdrawn) but regulatory interventions have had a significant, and negative, impact on the market. MTN Ghana shows that Nigeria has significant upside potential in terms of data growth.


Voice traffic is static and SMS traffic is continuously increasing. Sonatel mobile revenues keep increasing since 2012. OTT apps have not had a negative impact on the market.


There is little ICT data for Sierra Leone but the country is experiencing adverse macro economic conditions that is limited ICT sector growth.

South Africa

All three operators have seen an increase in revenues. Overall voice revenues have been relatively constant, and data revenues have increased significantly. South African operators are able to benefit from data demand driven by OTT apps because of their high 4G population coverage.


Voice traffic has grown significantly since 2013. Vodacom revenues have increased in 2017 and 2018. OTT apps have not had a negative impact on the market.


Uganda imposed a OTT tax despite no evidence that OTT use had negative impacts on the ICT sector. The tax is likely to stifle investment into the ICT sector and mobile broadband adoption in general.


Mobile operator revenues increased in four out of the last five years.OTT apps have not had a negative impact on the market.


Arbitrary and controversial regulatory interventions have had a significant, and negative, impact on the market.