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Mozambique - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 20 May 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 97

Mozambique prepares for multi-spectrum auction

Although delayed by the long civil war which ended in 1992, Mozambique was one of the first countries in the region to embark upon telecom reform. As a result, some sectors have been opened to competition. The mobile segment in particular has shown strong growth since the introduction of competition in 2003 between Vodacom Mozambique and mCel, the incumbent mobile subsidiary of the national telco Telecomunicações de Moçambique (TdM). Mobile penetration remains far below the average for the region. Given that the country has relatively low fixed-line penetration there is considerable room for further growth in coming years. This has been stimulated by the launch of commercial services from the third operator Movitel, which is backed by Vietnam’s Viettel.

In recent years the government has drafted legislation aimed at enforcing the registration of SIM cards. At the end of 2016 almost five million unregistered SIM cards were deactivated. Measures aimed at sharing network infrastructure have helped reduce operational and investment costs, and enabled players to provide converged voice, data and TV services over single networks. Vodacom Mozambique was awarded such a licence in mid-2018, and soon afterwards launched the country’s first LTE service.

The poor fixed-line infrastructure has largely held back the market for fixed-line internet services, and as a result mobile internet accounts for most connections. The high cost of international bandwidth had long hampered internet use, though the landing of two international submarine cables (SEACOM and EASSy) has reduced the cost of bandwidth and so led to drastic reductions in broadband retail prices.

There is some cross-platform competition, with DSL, cable broadband, WiMAX, 3G and limited fibre broadband available. Further improvements can be expected from the ongoing rollout of a national fibre backbone networks by TdM and the mobile operators.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Regulator starts multi-spectrum auction process, imposes MTR cuts through to 2020;
  • Vodacom Mozambique secures Unified Telecom License, launches LTE services;
  • TdM and mCel begin restructure and merger exercise;
  • TdM contracts Intelsat for satellite broadband and backhaul services;
  • Liquid Sea and Africa-1 submarine cable systems to improve bandwidth;
  • Mozambique joins the Alliance for Affordable Internet, aiming to provide broadband at less than 5% of average monthly income;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data for 2017, operator data updates to Q3 2018, ITU market data updates, Telecom Maturity Index tables, charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Telecomunicações De Moçambique (TdM); Vodacom Mozambique; mCel (TdM); Movitel (Viettel); Teledata (TdM); TV Cabo; Intra; Tropical Web, SEACOM.

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