Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/15/2012 -- With no new data on fixed, internet or broadband subscriber numbers available from Southern Africa's operators or the International Telecommunication Union, we are making no changes to forecasts for those sectors. Despite increasing investment into the build-out of data networks and the lighting of the Western Africa Cable System in May 2012, we believe high data tariffs will continue to restrict growth in the short and medium term.
Following revisions to mobile forecasts for multiple countries in the Q212 report, the only revision in this report is for Zimbabwe. New market data published by TechZim, quoting regulator the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, indicates mobile subscriber growth moderated in 2011, rising by 5.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) compared with 140% growth in 2010. We now estimate mobile penetration stood at 70.7% at the end of 2011 and have made upwards revisions to forecasts for 2012-2016. We expect the operators' network expansion plans will roll out services to previously underserved areas of the country. This, coupled with multiple SIM ownership as operators vie for market share with aggressive promotions, will boost penetration to nearly 90% by the end of 2016.
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The region's first 4G LTE services were launched in Q212, by Movicel in Angola in April, and by MTC in Namibia a month later. With broadband penetration less than 1% in both markets, there is significant growth potential; however, we anticipate high tariffs will restrict LTE services to high-value customers in urban areas. Mozambique's mobile market is set for increased competition following the launch of full commercial services by Movitel, backed by Vietnam's Viettel, in May 2012. Movitel is competing with existing operators mcel and Vodacom, but with mobile penetration at just 33% at the end of 2011 there is significant growth potential for all three operators. We expect Movitel will pursue a low-margin strategy to attract lower income customers; a development that would bode well for consumers but could have implications for mcel and Vodacom in terms of falling ARPU and profitability.
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