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Sudan Telecommunications Report Q2 2009
[May 11, 2009]

Sudan Telecommunications Report Q2 2009

(M2 PressWIRE Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) adds new report: Sudan Telecommunications Report Q2 2009 Sudan has a telecoms market with high growth potential. Mobile penetration was estimated at just over 27% at the end of 2008, leaving nearly 29mn potential subscribers in the country - a fairly attractive prospect for operators. However, in common with many high growth potential markets, demand is coming from the bottom of the market, and therefore ARPUs are low. Also, growth in the mobile market seems to have slowed somewhat prematurely, which may give investors some pause.

Sudan is one of the countries where the two giants of African mobile, MTN and Zain, go head to head.

However, as so often happens, they are not very well matched in this particular context. Zain bought Sudan's first mobile operator in 2006, and this former monopoly still has a fairly dominant position in the market, with over 40% in its hand. The advantage of such dominance is seen in the fact that Zain's ARPU is often twice that of MTN. Some 3G service are available in the country, but it is BMI's opinion that the uptake of these services is negligible.

Sudan is fairly open to foreign investment, with two of its three mobile firms 100% foreign-owned.

Economic sanctions imposed on Sudan will put many off, although they are not a barrier unless the investor is US based. Sudan has moved down our Business Environment Ratings in this update, in part because of declining ARPUs and slowing mobile growth. However, these slight changes only served to emphasise the country's exceptionally low country risk rating. The country remains unstable due to the ongoing crisis in Darfur, the aftermath of years of conflict between Khartoum and the now semiautonomous South.

Fixed-line services in Sudan are hard to quantify, since there is no reliable information from either the operators or the regulator. Suffice to say that fixed-line services, even fixed-wireless, are not very widespread. Internet service is even less common; broadband in particular had only an estimated 65,000 subscribers at the end of 2008. However, the country does claim 4mn internet users, so it would appear that the vast majority of people are making use of public facilities. This bodes well for future demand for internet services, but we do not expect broadband to become a widespread service for some years to come, with the cost remaining prohibitively high for most people. ((Comments on this story may be sent to (c) 2009 M2 COMMUNICATIONS LTD

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