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Guinea
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During the decades of mismanagement, infrastructure in Guinea degenerated strongly. Only a few years ago, Guinea had among the world's poorest developed telecom infrastructure, with electricity and very basic telephone and internet connections experiencing constant interruptions. This is now slowly improving as foreign investors are attracted.

Further international companies are investing in the rapidly growing telecommunications industry of Guinea, where mobile phones and internet is extending outside the capital, Conakry. The country's telecom sector has shown triple digit growth rates for several years.

The London-based telecom company Gateway Communications announced it had signed two deals in Guinea. It joins foreign investors such as Intercel and ETI SA, seeing a great potential in Guinea's strongly under-developed telecom infrastructure.

Licenses & Regulations

Following a World Bank-sponsored sector reform programme started in 1989, the telecommunications sector was transformed by Decree No D/92/141/PRG/SGG. In Guinea Sotelgui was established after the separation of postal and telecommunication services. Ultimately, the Ministry of Communications, through its Direction Nationale des Postes et des telecommunications (DNPT), is the regulatory office with several divisions under it dealing with licensing, frequency allocation, standards and tariffs.

Fixed Lines

The general assessment of the fixed lines in Guinea indicates an inadequate system of open-wire lines. Conakry is reasonably well served, whereas coverage elsewhere remains poor and large companies tend to rely on their own systems for nationwide links. The fixed-line teledensity is less than 1 per 100 persons. The number of main lines was 50,000 in 2008. Sotelgui is the sole fixed line operator in Guinea.

Mobile

Currently, in Guinea there are 4.18 million mobile subscribers and five mobile phones for every landline. But new investments are expected to increase these numbers rapidly.

With five competing mobile networks, its telecommunications sector has shown triple digit growth rates for three years in a row following the entry of two world-class international operators, MTN and Orange. The other competitors are Intercel, Cellcom and Lagui, the mobile unit of the national fixed-line operator, Sotelgui.

Following the exit of Telekom Malaysia in 2008, Sotelgui is being prepared for renewed privatisation, creating an attractive opportunity for a strategic investor. Despite the rapid growth, mobile market penetration is still well below the African average, and the country’s fixed-line and Internet markets are virtually untapped.

Gateway supplies all of US-based Intercel Guinea's international connectivity and critical backhaul services. During six years, the two companies have built a national backbone of cellular links, connecting five major cities via cellular backhaul including Kankan, Labé, Mamou and Nzékoré.

Mobile Operators

Average Revenue per User (ARPU)

The prospect of intensified competition has sparked a new subscriber growth, but at the same time the average revenue per user has fallen. For example, MTN Guinea’s ARPU decreased from $US17 in 2006 to US$8 in 2009.

Internet

On the internet market, Guinea until now has seen very poor connectivity and low extension. Broadband services are still very limited and expensive. The planned arrival of at least two international fibre optic submarine cables in 2010 and 2011 will bring abundant and competitive international bandwidth to Guinea for the first time which will have nothing short of a revolutionary effect on telecommunications in the country.

While ETI SA, Guinea's leading internet provider, currently only serves business customers, the company now prepares to reach out to ordinary consumers in Conakry.

As of June 2009, Guinea had 90,000 internet users, with a penetration rate of Jun/09.

Key Figures

  • Number of main lines in use: 50,000 (2008)
  • Number of mobile subscribers: 4,180,000 (2010)
  • Number of internet users: 90,000 (2009)
  • Number of Internet hosts: 14 (2009)

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