Telecoms & IT

Gabon Telecoms and IT

Telecoms

Gabon’s telecoms sector is undergoing an important shift in 2014. The highly competitive market will see two of its four operators merge, potentially changing the balance with the traditional market leader.

The long-awaited launch of 3G service in April 2014 is helping to open new avenues for growth in Gabon’s increasingly saturated mobile telecommunications sector. Subscriber numbers continue to rise, but with real penetration of nearly 100%, future growth will come from the introduction of higher-value services. Competition is fierce with four operators serving a relatively small market, and providers are working to expand their networks and boost service quality.

IT

Gabon aims to transition to a digital economy by 2016, supported by $68m in public and private investment in national infrastructure planned for 2013-14.

Commercialisation of access to the long-awaited Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) fibre-optic cable, expected in early 2015, should propel Gabon’s IT sector forward in the next year. The public sector continues to be the primary digital consumer, but demand for internet connectivity, IT hardware and services is growing rapidly. For now, the market continues to be held back by limited broadband capacity, so 2014 will be focused on efforts to commercialise access to the ACE cable and to expand IT infrastructure both in Gabon and the broader sub-region to meet rising demand.

This chapter contains interviews with Alain Ba Oumar, President, Federation of Operators of Electronic Communications of Gabon; and Axcèle Kissangou-Mouelé, Managing Director, Société de Patrimoine des Infrastructures Numeriques.