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Sierra Leone Telecoms Report

Sierra Leone Telecoms Report

Market Study
Published: June 2016
Pages: 49
Research from: Business Monitor International
Sector: Mobile

From: GBP 820.00
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The Sierra Leone mobile market falls far behind its regional peers in terms of mobile market penetration and is expected to remain so over the course of our forecast period. Based on the latest reports from Orange - which is acquiring Airtel's local unit - and Africell, we estimate there were around 4.6mn mobile subscriptions at the end of 2015 . Nevertheless, given the lack of regularly reported market data and clear methodologies , we highlight that these figures are subject to change upon release of more information .

The mobile market has five competitors, with the latest launching in H114, although international players Africell and Airtel control 90% of subscriptions. Developments in the wireline segment are few, and growth in the overall telecoms market will be driven by demand for wireless voice and data services. Growth of cellular subscribers will not be explosive over the course of our forecast period but will show a recovery following market contraction during the Ebola outbreak. Furthermore, growth in the 3G market should also be strong. The purchase of Airtel's operations by France's Orange will inject renewed impetus for competition in the market.

Organic Growth Opportunities Remain
e/f = BMI estimate/forecast. Source: BMI, operators, NATCOM

Latest Updates And Industry Developments

  • France's Orange is looking to enter the Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone markets by acquiring Airtel's local operations in the country. Orange may pay as much as USD900mn for these two Airtel subsidiaries in 2016. Orange has been looking to enter Africa recently and has purchased Tigo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cellcom in Liberia.

  • We believe that organic subscriber numbers can achieve growth given the low penetration rate in the country. Renewed competition between Orange and incumbent market leader Africell could lead to improved services and higher technological uptake in the country.

  • We estimate that the market ended 2015 with a total of 4.6mn mobile subscribers, a number we see jumping to over 4.7mn by end of 2016 and climbing further to over 5.6mn by end of 2020. 3G subscriptions figures will grow in double digits, as we estimate that there will be a total of 644,600 3G subscribers by end of 2016, a figure we see nearly doubling to 1.12mn by end of 2020.

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