Côte d'Ivoire

2G Population Coverage98%
3G Population Coverage60%
4G Population Coverage47%
OTT PolicyDiscussion document Dec 2016
OTT RegulationNo
OTT TaxNo
SIM Card RegistrationsYes
Coverage Source: ITU Database July 2018
Map Source: Collins Bartholomew Mobile Coverage Explorer dataset

In 2016, the Autorité de Régulation des Télécommunications de Cote d’Ivoire (ARTCI) launched a discussion document on OTT apps with the purpose of facilitating discussion on the smooth running of the digital economy (Download Document). The discussion document lists several factors of concern, such as fake news, online addiction, child pornography and data privacy. The discussion document also focuses on tax optimisation (defined as the transfer of profits to another country without payment of taxes) and income cannibalisation (defined as the reduction of voice and SMS revenues due to OTT apps). The discussion document offers two recommendations:
1) Develop African payment platforms so that money is no longer transferred to European jurisdictions but kept in Africa; and
2) Encourage the development of operator-specific OTT apps.

Operator data shows that revenues for MTN have increased (Table 1). Subscribers have also increased year on year. Data as percentage of total revenues has increased from 9% in 2013 to 21% in 2017, which is still low in international terms. Voice revenues increased, despite voice making up a smaller share of total revenues. SMS revenues decreased but data revenues more than compensated for the SMS revenue loss.

Sonatel Cote d’Ivoire has also seen strong revenue and subscriber growth (Figures 1 and 2). With good 3G/4G population coverage and strong revenue growth, OTT apps have had a beneficial impact on operators in Cote d’Ivoire. Concerns about OTT apps are likely to be overshadowed by regulatory interventions, such as the withdrawal of the fourth mobile license, a new tax on each mobile money transaction of 0.5%, and Quality of Service fines.