Arab Advisors Group
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Tunisia’s datacomm market is at the doorsteps of liberalization.
Monday, July 7, 2003

Tunisia’s datacomm sector, which is the most advanced in the Arab Maghreb region, is set for liberalization in 2004. Moreover, a VSAT tender is ongoing which will result in ending Tunisie Telecom’s VSAT monopoly. A new report from the Arab Advisors Group fully analyzes the Tunisian Internet and Datacomm markets. July 07, 2003 - In 1991, Tunisia became one of the first Arab and African countries to connect to the Internet, according to the Tunisian Internet Agency. The “Institut Régional des Sciences Informatiques et des Télécommunications” (IRSIT) in Tunisia, currently SOTETEL-IT, was connected with an IP connection on an X.25 line with the “Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique" (INRIA) in France. The Internet market in the country is advanced by regional standards. Five private and seven public sector ISPs served approximately 77,000 Internet accounts in the country by end of 2002, a penetration rate of O.78%. Close to 3% of the Tunisian population were Internet users by end of 2002. A new comprehensive country report, “Tunisia Internet and Datacomm Landscape Report 2003” was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s (www.arabadvisors.com) Strategic Research Service subscribers on July 7th, 2003. The 66-pages report includes 71 exhibits that fully cover the datacomm and Internet market in the country. This comprehensive report can be purchased from Arab Advisors Group for only US$ 750. Any investment in this report will count towards a Strategic Research Service subscription should the service be acquired within three months from purchasing the report. The report’s Table of Contents can be obtained by sending an email to the Arab Advisors Group. “The datacomm market will remain a monopoly market, operated by Tunisie Telecom, until 2004. A tender for a second datacomm operator will be issued by the end of 2003 and there will be a guaranteed duopoly until the end of 2005.” Serene Zawaydeh, Arab Advisors research analyst wrote in the report. “Leased lines constitute the largest subscriber base of the datacomm services offered by Tunisie Telecom, followed by X.25 services. The operator launched Frame Relay in 2001, whose subscriber base is growing very rapidly. The frame relay subscriber base has grown by 37% in the first four months of 2003.” Ms. Zawaydeh added. The Tunisian government has also issued an international tender for the award of a license to install and operate a VSAT network. This will introduce competition in VSAT services, currently being provided by Tunisie Telecom only. The new operator will provide international connectivity in addition to covering Tunisia, whereas Tunisie Telecom’s VSAT services are currently limited to data and Internet connectivity inside Tunisia only. The newly released report fully profiles and analyses all Internet and datacomm operators in the country. It includes prevailing rates of data services as well as revenue analysis and projections. The report also details the e-commerce situation in the country and its legal and market fundamentals. Plastic payment cards have exceeded the 700,000 mark by end of 2002. Moreover, Tunisia has enacted an e-commerce law which organizes electronic exchanges and electronic commerce in the country. The law created the National Agency of Electronic Certifications, for licensing the activities of certification services providers in Tunisia, and to issue, deliver and store electronic certificates of public agents licensed to carry out electronic exchanges. The Arab Advisors Group’s team of analysts in the region has already produced more than 165 reports on the Arab World’s communications markets. The reports can be purchased individually or received through an annual subscription to Arab Advisors Group’s (www.arabadvisors.com) Strategic Research Service. To date, Arab Advisors Group has served more than 70 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients.

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