Thursday 26 March 2020

Algeria - Growth and Competition in North Africa

The mobile services market in Algeria showed significant growth in the last couple of years, having been relatively stagnant previously. Much of this growth was stimulated by the government’s efforts to improve connectivity in rural areas.

Intensifying price competition between the three MNOs – Mobilis, Djezzy and Ooredoo Algeria – together with increases in taxes on voice and data services, have had a negative effect on operator revenue. A new roaming agreement with Tunisia will place further pressure on revenue.
With the market becoming more mature, operators in turn are looking to opportunities in the mobile data and mobile broadband segments to generate revenue. To this end they have invested in upgrades to LTE infrastructure and have reported significant increases in data traffic. 

According to Analysys Mason, there were approximately 48.8 million mobile customers in Algeria as of December 31, 2019, compared to 51.3 million mobile customers as of December 31, 2018, representing a mobile penetration rate of approximately 112.3%, compared to 120.4% as of December 31, 2018.

Veon operate in Algeria through their operating company, Optimum, and the brand, “Djezzy.” 

Djezzy broadcasts 2G on 900 MHz and 3G up to HSPA+ on 2100 MHz in 48 Wilayas. 4G/LTE was launched in 2016 on 1800 MHz (band 3) and is available in most Wilayahs. They provide 4G/LTE services in Algeria in 28 of 48 provinces across the country, including Algiers, and the largest provinces in terms of population. Coverage in cities is good, while outdoors on 4G/LTE, but often falls back to 3G indoors. Rural coverarge ranges from 3G to sometimes EDGE or no service. Speeds on 4G/LTE ranges between 10 and 20 Mbps to occasionally poor or trouble connecting to some websites. Overall, connectivity is fairly reliable, though.They generally offer customers mobile telecommunications services under prepaid and postpaid plans.

Djezzy is the most popular brand amongst young people with the most aggressive marketing and generally on par with Mobilis.

Mobilis is the brand under which the mobile subsidiary of state-owned Algérie Télécom is marketing its mobile offers. Based on the number of subscribers it's currently the second operator in the country and was launched in 2003.

Mobilis has been offering 3G connection in basically 80% of all the cities and towns since 2012. 4G/LTE was launched in October 2016 on 1800 MHz (band 3). 4G/LTE is available in the Wilayas of Tlemcen, Constantine, Batna, Bordj Bou Arreridj, El Oued, Biskra, Boumerdès, Tipaza, Blida, Tizi-Ouzou et Sidi Bel-Abbès. Current coverage for 4G can be checked online by selecting the Wilayah, the city and the part of the city.

Mobilis has trialled 5G and expected to launch commercial services in 2020. Towards the end of 2018, Mobilis  successfully tested 5G connections in the town of Oran with the technical support of its partner Huawei. The data rates achieved were 1.18 Gbps. Oran will not be the only 5G town, as the operator is also working with other partners to conduct the same tests in other towns to be ready for global switch to the new technology in 2020.

The third operator in number of users in Algeria is Ooredoo and used to be called Nedjma before.
Just like the other Algerian operators they operate 2G on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz and since end of 2016 on 4G/LTE on 1800 MHz (band 3) as well. Ooredoo covers with 3G most populated areas in Algeria and 28 out of 48 Wilayahs are covered with 4G so far.

Nokia is helping Ooredoo Algeria take the first step towards next generation networks and reinforce its technology leadership in the region with the successful deployment of North Africa's first virtualized Mobile Gateway. This is a crucial step for the migration of core network elements to the cloud and paves the way for the transformation of the core network to support next generation mobile network technology. The deployment allows Ooredoo Algeria to meet growing data demand in the region, and provide new and innovative services like Internet of Things (IoT), in addition to enhanced broadband to its subscribers. Once deployed, Ooredoo Algeria's subscribers will be able to enjoy high bandwidth-consuming services, delivering the best possible performance and reliability.

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