BMI View : BMI's Q 3 15 Southern Africa report analyses the latest industry, regulatory and macroeconomic developments in the telecoms markets in Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Mauritius and Namibia. It also contains our estimate of the market data relating to the end of 2014 a nd an update of our five-year forecasts to 201 9 for the mobile, fixed-line and internet sectors. From the five states , Botswana and Mauritius clearly stand out as more dynamic and higher performing markets in terms of both mobile penetration as well as 3G/4G developments.
The five countries in our coverage recorded an average growth of 7.3% in 2014. Mozambique recorded the fastest growth at 21%, while Mauritania grew by just 1.9%.
The average estimated mobile penetration rate of the five countries in our coverage was 101.8% at the end of 2014. Botswana had the highest penetration rate at 162.5%, while Mozambique had the lowest at 57.1%.
Mauritius, Angola, Botswana and Mozambique all reported ARPU figures that were equal or higher to the regional average.
Mauritius and Namibia lead the way in terms of 3G penetration, but the other three countries in our report are below the region's average.
Botswana's telecoms operator Mascom has rolled out its 4G LTE network in the country. Mascom was the first operator in Botswana to test the network in 2012. The operator's 3G mobile broadband services now cover 70% of the country's population. Mascom aims to provide the 3G coverage to another 38 villages, with all villages or cities having more than 5,000 people already being covered by its 3G network, according to CEO Jose Veira Couceiro. Mozambique's impressive economic growth outlook, combined with a predominantly rural population, generates good tower-sharing opportunities. However, while fast-growing operator Movitel's parent Viettel remains closed to tower sharing, the country is unlikely to become the next area of expansion for any of Sub-Saharan Africa's leading tower companies. In Mozambique, Motivel entered the market when the penetration rate had just reached 30%, leaving enough room for it to invest heavily in expanding networks to underserved areas and achieve a dominant position in less than three years. By June 2014, just two years after launching services, Movitel reportedly had 2,800 towers in Mozambique, accounting for around 50% of total towers in the country, as well as 25,000km of fibre, accounting for 70% of total national fibre coverage. However, BMI believes that even without Viettel's participation, Mozambique remains a sizeable market with Vodacom and mCel looking for ways to improve competitiveness by cutting costs. BMI believes this creates enough opportunity to attract some mid-tier or more specialised players to Mozambique's towers market.
State-owned infrastructure firm Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNeT) plans to roll out Fibre-to-the-x (FTTx) to replace existing copper cables and wireless internet connections. The BWP150mn (USD16.28mn) project will allow BoFiNet to deliver fast and cheaper internet connections. The project was launched December 2014 and will cover several areas of the capital Gaborone, second capital Francistown and resort towns Kasane, Kazungula and Maun.
South African telecoms operator Vox Telecom has completed the sale of its Namibian operations to Namibia's Paratus Telecom. The transaction, which includes all assets and full staff complement of Vox Telecom Namibia, was made for an undisclosed amount. Talks for the deal between the two operators started in 2013. The deal aims to combine the voice services offered by Vox with the established data network and infrastructure of Paratus.