Progress in Libyan telecoms sector despite civil war

Research and Markets has released its latest status report on the telecoms sector in Libya.

Libya's civil war has crippled the country's economy and disrupted its telecommunications sector. As a result of these difficulties, and heightened insecurity, prices for internet connections and SIM cards have increased dramatically, while telecom services have been regularly disrupted, particularly in the eastern region of the country. Benghazi was cut off from all telecom networks for a number of months in 2015.

A new Telecommunications Law has been drafted and the government is in the process of establishing an independent regulatory authority. Since the downfall of the old regime, 25 ISPs have already been licensed to compete with the government-owned former monopoly, as well as 23 VSAT operators.

With one of the highest market penetration rates in Africa, the mobile voice market is approaching saturation, supported by some of the lowest tariffs on the continent and one of the highest per capita GDP levels. Opportunities remain in the broadband sector where market penetration is still relatively low. So far only one of the mobile networks has launched third-generation (3G) broadband services. Fixed-line penetration has fallen significantly as a result of the war but is also expected to see a renaissance, including fibre, as the demand for very high-speed broadband increases.

Hatif Libya is ready to expand fixed wireless service in western areas of the country, while the LTE Committee has chosen both Huawei and ZTE as vendors for the planned LTE rollout. Militia activity continues to damage telecom infrastructure.

The government has approached the ITU for help to develop telecom regulatory framework, and Ericsson and Nokia Networks have been contracted to deploy a national mobile broadband network. In addition, Alcatel-Lucent has signed a contract with LITC to build a 1,000km subsea cable system linking Tripoli to Benghazi.

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