Telecoms & IT

Algeria Telecoms & IT

With a population of 39.5m, concentrated along a narrow strip of coastline, along with comparatively high rates of consumption and a push for investment in fibre backbone infrastructure, Algeria offers significant potential for telecoms operators. Since the launch of 3G mobile internet services in 2013, operators have continued to roll out 3G networks across the country, with one aiming to cover all provinces by the end of 2016. The sector is now preparing for the launch of 4G long-term evolution mobile networks, on which telecoms firms and the authorities have begun to complete some preliminary work – though the government is keen to ensure that operators are capable of making the necessary investments before doing so – as well as legislative reforms, which among other measures could open up the monopolistic fixed-line segment. The IT sector appears to be on the cusp of a new stage of growth. The launch of 3G at the end of 2013 has led to rapid growth in internet access, and the planned launch of 4G and the rollout of fibre should further boost uptake. A new submarine cable due to enter into operation in 2016 will boost national bandwidth – already one of the highest in the region – and a planned ICT law may lead to increased competition, bringing down prices in the fixed segment, while fixed 4G long-term evolution services are being made available in areas where DSL access is difficult. This chapter contains an interview with Azouaou Mehmel, CEO, Algérie Télécom.