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Boom forecast for Ethiopia, DRC telecom markets

Boom forecast for Ethiopia, DRC telecom markets.

Combined revenues from the telecommunications sectors in Ethiopia and the DRC are expected to more than double from $1.78 billion to $3.27 billion by 2018.

This is according to experts at research firm, Frost and Sullivan.

In a report on the two countries, Frost & Sullivan says increased uptake of mobile money and data platforms are major growth drivers for the nations’ telecoms sectors.

The bigger growth potential that has been predicted for both Ethiopia and the DRC also stems from the two countries’ low mobile penetration rates.

Ethiopia, which has a population of over 90 million, has a mobile penetration rate of 36.4% while that of the DRC, which has a population of over 65 million, stands at 24.1%. Africa’s average mobile penetration rate; meanwhile, is said to be about 61%.

And owing to telecoms infrastructure investments that the two countries and operators there are undertaking, “both markets are expected to expand substantially, mainly driven by the growing infrastructure investment,” according to research done by Frost and Sullivan and released on Thursday.

“Data revenue will be driven by the increasing number of low-cost mobile devices in the market and the growing popularity of social media platforms. Mobile money will grow in prominence as the number of Ethiopia and DRC’s unbanked populations have prompted their respective governments to place financial inclusion at the forefront of their socio-economic plans,” said Frost & Sullivan ICT research analyst, Lehlohonolo Mokenela.

Growth in the Ethiopian telecommunications market has been limited owing to lack of competition, with state owned Ethio Telecoms being the sole provider.

The company is said to enjoy “tight regulatory protection” although the government is now considering opening up the industry to more players.

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