The relatively low mobile penetration rate and the limited presence of fixed-line services are driving mobile growth in Sudan, especially in remote areas. While mobile broadband is expected to witness the highest growth due to better accessibility, the segment with the highest potential is broadband. The fixed-line segment will also get a boost with the prevalence of new technologies such as CDMA fixed-wireless technology.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan finds that the market earned revenues of US$2.13 billion in 2011 and estimates it to reach US$2.85 billion in 2018. In 2011, Sudan had approximately 24 million mobile subscribers and the penetration rate stood at 55.1 per cent. The number of subscribers in the country is anticipated to triple to 56.8 million between 2012 and 2018.
"Sudan has a relatively liberalised telecom sector," said Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Jonas Zelba. "There are two fixed-line and five mobile operators providing services in the country and all operators have planned network expansion to take advantage of the growing demand in rural areas."
However, with close to 40 per cent of the population living below the poverty line, there is substantial pressure on the operators to find fresh revenue streams. In addition, high illiteracy rates restrict the uptake of sophisticated data services.
Further, a high number of new subscribers in the low income segments use their mobiles phones mainly for incoming calls, lowering operators' average revenue per user.
Owing to this large presence of low-income groups, operators should acknowledge that the next wave of subscriber growth in Sudan is likely to come from these consumers. Therefore, apart from offering innovative and advanced services for high-end subscribers, they should also provide simplified broadband services to penetrate the low-income segment effectively.
"Targeted services enable operators to better manage, churn and drive subscriber growth," noted Zelba