Arab Advisors Group
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Will the second time be the charm for Morocco’s second go at fixed services liberalization?
Thursday, August 12, 2004

Morocco’s telecom regulator Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications, “ANRT” is keen to have a successful second chance for liberalizing the fixed line market in Morocco, after the failure of the fixed license tender in 2002. The ANRT has recently conducted a study on the Moroccan market that was completed by end of June 2004, with the purpose of defining the market’s liberalization timeline. The fixed line segment has shown lackluster growth in the past few years, declining by an annual 4.6% between 1999 and 2003.The market rebounded moderately in 2003 and the Arab Advisors Group projects mainlines to grow at a CAGR of 12% between 2003 and 2008 to reach 2.15 million lines in 2008, a penetration rate of 6.6%. The growth, in this unsaturated market, will be spurred by liberalization and the effects of new entrants into the market.

A new report, “Morocco Communications Projections Report” was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s Strategic Research Services subscribers on August 8, 2004. This report can be purchased from Arab Advisors Group for only US$ 850. The 115-pages report, which has 115 detailed exhibits, fully analyses Morocco telecommunication market and its regulatory framework. The report also profiles the main operators and vendor landscape in the country including Maroc Telecom, Meditel. Inquam Morocco, Moratel, SpaceCom, Gulfsat Maghreb, CIMECOM, Orbcomm Maghreb and Globalstar North Africa. Arab Advisors’ report also provides 5-year historical information and 5-year projections for over 40 telecom (cellular and fixed), economic and revenue indicators in the Moroccan telecom market.

Any investment in this report will count towards an annual Strategic Research Service subscription should the service be acquired within three months from purchasing the report.

“Morocco’s fixed line market is not growing well. Fixed lines declined at a CAGR of –4.6% between 1999 and 2003, and in 2001, there were 332,000 lost fixed line subscribers. The mainlines market improved in 2003 compared to the previous years, as it grew by 8.2% to reach 1.219 million lines, a penetration rate of only 4.1%.” Serene Zawaydeh, Arab Advisors Group Senior Research Analyst wrote in the report. “The payphones market grew by 18% in 2003 to reach 91,514 payphones, thereby becoming the largest Arab payphones market last year. The Arab Advisors Group projects mainlines to grow at a CAGR of 12% between 2003 and 2008 to reach 2.15 million lines in 2008, a penetration rate of 6.6%.” Ms. Zawaydeh added.

On the privatization front, the Moroccan government, which currently owns 65% of Maroc Telecom, will be selling 16% of its share in the operator to Vivendi Universal, which will increase Vivendi’s share in Maroc Telecom to 51%. The government will also be floating a stake of Maroc Telecom before end of the year 2004. Furthermore, there are plans to list Méditel, Morocco’s second GSM operator, on the stock exchange in 2005.

“The entrance of the second mobile operator, Médi Télécom, in 2000 generated a subscriber growth rate of 683% to reach 2.852 million subscribers that year. The cellular market has been continuously growing since then. In 2003, Morocco headed Arab countries with the highest number of cellular subscribers, which reached 7.364 million, a penetration rate of 24.5%.” Ms. Zawaydeh noted.

It is noteworthy, that competition in international call services already started in the country, after Méditel started using its international gateway in January 2003. However, in the second half it restricted its subscribers from using Maroc Telecom’s gateway. This created a dispute between the two operators, as Méditel’s subscribers should legally be able to choose their service provider.

The Arab Advisors Group’s team of analysts in the region has already produced more than 270 reports on the Arab World’s communications and media markets. The reports can be purchased individually or received through an annual subscription to Arab Advisors Group’s (www.arabadvisors.com) Strategic Research Services (Media and Telecom). To date, Arab Advisors Group has served more than 170 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients.

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