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Tunisia offers broadband potential

Broadband sector to produce revenue of $174 million in 2014

Tunisia's telecom market is expected to be among the fastest-growing in the Africa and Middle East region in the next five years, according to a report from US-based research organisation Pyramid Research.

While Tunisia's mobile and fixed penetration were among the highest in the region in 2008 at 82.1% and 11.5% respectively, the low broadband penetration rate of 2.2% indicates there is still room for growth, according to Sylwia Boguszewska, an analyst at Pyramid Research and author of the report.

Indeed, broadband services will have a compound annual growth rate of 15.1% between 2009 and 2014, producing estimated revenue of $174 million in 2014, up from $81 million in 2008, according to the report. "This growth will over compensate for the decline in narrowband Internet services, which will only generate revenue of $4 million in 2014," Boguszewska said.

She added that the government launched a tender for a fixed-line services license in May in a bid to promote broadband Internet access and “prop up” mobile telephony services, which had helped stimulate the sector.

“The process of a tender for a technology-neutral license for a mobile and fixed operator was started in May 2009, and a new player is expected to enter the market in 2010. This, plus the sale of another stake in Tunisie Telecom, will have a positive effect on market competiveness and liberalisation.”

Total telecom revenue in Tunisia is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% over the next five years, reaching $2.2 billion in 2014, despite a small contraction anticipated for 2009, according to the report.