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Niger
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The telephone system in Niger is inadequate. Even though Niger Phone Companies have given great relief to the people of Niger, but the privileged urban people can enjoy the benefits. The interior rural areas are still now deprived of the benefits.

The telecom companies of Niger offer certain services like voice and non voice telecom services. International communication is available through Satellites and Cables. Voice mail and even internet services are also provided through the Phone companies of Niger.

Licenses & Regulations

The Ministry of Communications and Culture is responsible for the development and regulation of the telecommunications sector. The Direction de la Réglementation des Postes et Télécommunications (DRPT) is the department of the ministry that performs actual regulatory activities through various sub-divisions for licensing, frequency allocation and tariff monitoring.

Fixed Lines

Fixed lines in Niger are described as inadequate and poor. The number of main lines in use as of 2008 is 24,000.

When France Telecom won a tender for a unified fixed and mobile license in Niger in 2007, it marked the end of the fixed line monopoly by Sonitel, which is controlled by ZTE and Libya's LAAICO. Sonitel formerly was the state owned phone company in Niger.

Mobile

Sonitel’s delay in modernizing its infrastructure has paved way for other companies in Niger. According to the terms of the privatization policy, Sonitel was barred from competing in the mobile market.

However, cell phone technology is ideal for the kind of economic environment the country possesses. So license was granted to activate the cell phone service.

The four other licensed mobile operators that have presence in Niger’s GSM market are Zain Niger, Moov (formerly Telecel), Sonitel subsidiary Sahel-Com and Orange Niger. Mobile users in the country numbered around 1.677 million in 2009 with a penetration rate of 10.56%.Zain Niger had more than 67% of the mobile market share, while Orange and Moov have 14% and 13% of the market share.

Some International Phone companies have agreed upon the roaming services agreement. However, this facility is only limited to the urban areas.

Mobile Operators

Average Revenue per User (ARPU)

Just as most African countries, growth was very strong in the beginning but has slowed in recent years as penetration and competition have increased and tariffs have dropped. Zain Niger generated an average revenue per user (ARPU) of US$10 in the third quarter of 2009. Information of the ARPU at other operators is not available.

Internet

Internet access is available in urban areas and internet users are estimated at 80,000 in 2008 with a 0.5% penetration rate.

There are four licensed ISPs in Niger, IXCom (French-owned), Telestar, Afripa Telecom (owned by Atlantique Telecom) and Sahel.com (owned by incumbent Sonitel). Except for the incumbent, most ISPs deliver their service using wireless. Subscriber numbers are hard to estimate but Sonitel has announced that it has 3,000 subscribers. It has plans to introduce a DSL service but no timetable has yet been fixed for roll-out. It has plans to modernize its network.

Key Figures

  • Number of main lines in use: 24,000 (2008)
  • Number of mobile subscribers: 2,620,000 (2010)
  • Number of internet users: 80,000 (2008)
  • Number of ISPs: 4 licensed providers
  • Number of Internet hosts: 253 (2009)
  • Mobile penetration rate: 10.56% (2009)
  • Internet penetration rate: 0.5% (2009)
  • Broadband internet subscribers: 600 (2009)

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