Find Telecommunication expertise in Mauritius
Mauritius’s telecommunications and internet industry is one of the most developed in Africa. It provided approximately 3.62% of the country’s GDP according to the most recent figure (Econstats, 2008). However, with the recent development of submarine cables and high speed broadband in the country, driving prices down and subscriptions up, it is likely this figure will be higher as of 2013. There are approximately 2,061 employees in the sector, but again, one could assume this figure to be higher as of 2013 (Econstats, 2005).
Mauritius Telecom and its subsidiaries provide the majority of fixed line services. Originally a completely government-run organisation, it is now liberalised with the government maintaining some ownership. Other shareholders include the State Bank of Mauritius, the national pension fund, and approximately 40% belongs to France Telecom (www.the-report.net, 2012). This varied and international multi-stakeholder ‘liberalisation’ of the telecoms sector is part of a greater African trend.
The mobile market has a penetration rate of 102%. The main companies which provide GSM networks are: Orange (Mauritius Telecom in partnership with France Telecom), Emtel and Mahangar, a subsidiary of India’s MTNL. The latter company also acts as the islands’ second fixed-line operator (Budde, 2012).
The Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) regulates ICT, telecoms and data protection, and grants licenses to telecoms operators. It was established by the 2001 Information and Communications Act. Pre-dating the ICTA, the National Computer Board (NCB) was created in 1988 in order to develop the industry as a whole. Its official website describes the board as a “para-statal body that operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Information and Technology” (www.ncb.mu, 2013). One of its main aims is to develop the ICT sector as the ‘fifth pillar’ of its economy (Budde, 2012).
Mobile broadband has grown fastest within the sector, with companies such as HSPA and EV-DO having success, although there are numerous other broadband providers to choose from. This has proved competitive with fixed DSL and WiMAX services. The two submarine cables put in place during the 2000s have enabled businesses to grow since they ensure connectivity with the rest of the world to continue even during cyclones, which before, cut out the country’s satellite network.
Eventually, the country plans to implement nationwide Fibre-to-the-Home and Fibre-to-the-Cabinet networks by 2015. When combined with the submarine cable infrastructure, these developments will bring down prices and put in place the conditions for growth (Budde). This framework has allowed Mauritius to become one of the leading African countries in the telecoms and internet sector, and its infrastructural development can be proved by statistical research in the field (see infrastructure tab).
The ICT Skills Development Programme (ISDP) is one example of how the government supports the growth of the ICT sector. The programme helps provide training and work experience with various companies in the sector in order to deal with the increasing demand for employment and services. With the growth in the industry comes an improvement in education and training resources.
There are 266 fixed telephone lines, 1,131 mobile subscriptions, 106 fixed broadband subscriptions, and 215 mobile broadband subscriptions per 1,000 people of the population. In addition, 41.4% of the population are internet users, with an international bandwidth of 14.6 kbps per user (World Economic Forum’s ‘Global Competitiveness Report 2013-14’). This places Mauritius relatively high in the overall rankings of the report. Indeed, it is also the highest placed African country, particularly in the fixed and mobile telecoms brackets: it places 44 and 66 respectively out of 148 countries.
|Telecoms and Internet Service Providers organisations in Mauritius|
|Call Services Ltd||
|Cellplus Mobile Commuications Ltd||
|City Call Ltd||
|Data Communications Ltd||
|Mahanagar Telephone Mauritius Limited||
|Mauritius Telecom Ltd||
|Telecom Plus Ltd||