GSM growth slows, CDMA flourishes

7 May 2008

According to Morocco’s telecoms regulator the ANRT, the country’s mobile phone users reached 20.62 million at the end of March 2008, up from 20.03 million at the end of 2007, with net additions of 587,000 in the first quarter down on the 841,000 new subscribers in the preceding quarter and the 1.12 million recorded in 1Q 2007. The watchdog said that cellular penetration reached 66.85% at 31 March 2008, up from 56.14% a year earlier. The leading operator by subscribers, Maroc Telecom, increased its GSM user base to 13.697 million subscribers at end-March, up from 13.327 million three months before, while its GSM rival Meditel’s customer base rose to 6.919 million from 6.702 million in December. Subscriber growth in the overall post-paid market during the quarter was 28,000, while total pre-paid users increased by 559,000.

TeleGeography attributes part of the slowdown in cellular growth to the rapid gains achieved by fixed-wireless/WiLL and limited mobility CDMA2000 1x-based telephony in Morocco, with the lion’s share signing up to Wana’s (formerly Maroc Connect) consumer brand, Bayn (launched in February 2007, which had claimed over a million users by the end of 2007). According to the regulator’s figures, the fixed line (including CDMA) market grew to 2.711 million subscribers at the end of March 2008, up from 2.394 million three months earlier, with 53,000 net new business users and 263,700 new residential subscribers. The ANRT also reported that total internet subscribers stood at 581,866 at the end of 1Q08, after 55,786 new users were added in the quarter; ADSL represents 83.8% of all subscribers, with Maroc Telecom dominating the market.

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