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Official internet statistics from African telecoms regulators

February 25, 2012  »  StatisticsNo Comment

Data is tough to come by in the African telecommunications market. The options are annual ITU report, demand-side releases (from a government ministry or a regulatory body), telecom operators’ annual reports, expensive market reports from sources like Budde Comm, or the rare demand-side questionnaire carried-out by researchers on the ground.

The ITU statistics lack focus and their perils have been discussed ad nauseam. There are simply too many operator annual reports to sift through. We cover the demand-side questionnaires as they become available. What’s left to cover are reports from the telecoms operators and government ministries.

East African regulators have actively published datasets as of late. Kenya’s CCK and Tanzania’s TCRA both recently released Internet and mobile subscription numbers from Q3 2011. So, with the suggestion of Wayan Vota of ICTWorks in mind, we attempted to discover what information each African telecommunications regulator releases.

Fortunately, most nations have an operational regulator, even if that regulator is not yet independent of the government. And, most regulators are expected to present an annual report to the government and to the market. In most cases, an annual report from 2009 or 2010 was available (and was released the following year). These reports often cover the number of citizens on the internet, a breakdown of how users access the internet (institution/household/individual/cafe), the number of mobile subscribers, type of internet (mobile wireless/fixed wireless/VSAT/cable), and growth over time. Some list a subscriber break down by operator. Most nations, however, do not have such current or robust data. Still, any data is better than no data. The table below lists the most recent public data made available by each national telecom regulator.

Most recent data from African telecoms regulators:

CountryRegulatorMost Recent DataSite Last Updated/Notes
AlgeriaAutorite de Regulation des Postes et Telecommunications (ARPT)2009jan 2012, modern site
AngolaInstitut Angolias des Communications (INACOM)2009 (partial data)oct 2010
BeninTransitory Authority for the Regulation of Posts and Telecommunications (ATRPT)20092012
BotswanaBotswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA)2010may 2010
Burkina FasoAutorite Nationale de Regulation des Telecommunications (ARTEL)2009feb 2012, new cyber security section
BurundiAgence de Régulation et de Contrôle des Télécommunications (ARCT)2008under construction, data from TeleGeography link
CameroonAgence de Regulation des Telecommunications (ART)2006jan 2012
Cape VerdeNational Communications Agency (ANAC)2008 (partial)feb 2012
Central African RepublicAgence chargée de la Régulation des Télécommunications (ART)no site
ChadOffice Tchadien de Regulation des Telecoms (OTRT)20022005
ComorosAutorité Nationale de Régulation des Tics (ANRTIC)dec 2011, some tech issues
CongoL'Agence de Régulation des Postes et Communications Electroniques (ARPCE)2011 (partial)2012, founded 2009, very modern, Facebook
Cote D'IvoireAgence des Telecommunications de Cote d'Ivoire (ATCI)2011 (video)oct 2011, under construction
Dem. Rep. of CongoAutorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecommunications du Congo (ARPTC)not found
DjiboutiMinistere de la Communication et de la Culture, chargé des Postes et Télécommincations, Porte-Parole du Gouvernement (MCC-PT)2011dec 2011, monthly data!
EgyptNational Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA)2009feb 2012
Equatorial GuineaÓrgano Regulador de las Telecomunicaciones (ORTEL)2011 (partial)jan 2011
EritreaCommunications Departmentno site
EthiopiaEthiopian Telecommunications Agency (ETA)2009
GabonAgence de Regulation des Telecommunications (ARTEL)won't connect
GambiaGambian Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA)2011
GhanaNational Communications Authority (NCA)20082010
GuineaRegulatory Auhtority for Posts and Telecommunications (ARPT)2010feb 2012
Guinea-BissauMinistry of Telecommunicationsno site
KenyaCCK - Communications Commission of KenyaQ3 2011feb 2012, good data, Facebook
LesothoLesotho Communications Authority (LCA)20102011
LiberiaLiberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA)2010feb 2012
Libyan/an/an/a
MadagascarOffice Malagasy d'etudes et de Regulation des Telecommunications (OMERT)2008mar 2009
MalawiCommunications Regulatory Authority (MACRA)2010jan 2012
MaliComité de régulation des télécommnunications du Mali (CRT)2010oct 2011
MauritaniaAutorite de Regulation (AR)2010jan 2012
MauritiusInformation and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA)2009feb 2012
MayotteARCEP (France)
MoroccoAgence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications (ANRT)20102012
MozambiqueInstituto Nacional das Communicacoes de Mozambique2007feb 2012
NamibiaCommunications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN)2010feb 2012, Facebook
NigerL'Autorite de Regulation Multisectorielle (ARM)2006jul 2011
NigeriaNigerian Communications Commission (NCC)20112012, Facebook, good data
ReunionARCEP (France)
RwandaRegulatory Agency for Public Utility Services of Rwanda (RURA)20112012
Sao Tome And PrincipeARCEP (France)
SenegalAgence de Régulation des Télécommunications et des Postes (ARTP)2009oct 2011
Seychellesn/an/an/a
Sierra LeoneNational Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM)late 2011
Somalian/an/an/a
South AfricaIndependent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA)20112012
St.HelenaOfcom (UK)?
South SudanMinistry of Telecommunications & Postal Services2009
SudanNational Telecommunications Corporation (NTC)2011nov 2011
SwazilandSwaziland Posts & Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC)20112011
TanzaniaTanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA)20122012, good data
TogoAutorite de Reglementation des Secteurs de Postes et Telecommunications (ART&P)20102012
Tunisial'Instance Nationale des Télécommunications de Tunisie (INTT)2010feb 2012, Twitter
UgandaUganda Communications Commission (UCC)20112012
Western Saharan/an/an/a
ZambiaZambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA)2012feb 2012, Twitter
ZimbabwePostal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ)Q3 2011*2011, official stats from TechZim post

Noteworthy insights:

  • No telecoms regulator: Libya, Seychelles, Somalia, Western Sahara
  • No regulatory website found: Central African Republic, DRC, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau
  • No data found: Comoros, Ethiopia, Gambia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan
  • 2011 data is available from regulators in: Congo, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Social media presence: Zambia, Tunisia, Nigeria, Namibia, Kenya, Congo, Uganda
  • The most outdated data: Cameroon (2006), Chad (2002), Niger (2006)
  • Burkina Faso’s ARTEL has recently added a section of the site devoted to cyber security efforts.
  • Djibouti’s MCC-PT surprisingly has monthly Internet user data through October 2011.
  • The majority of regulator websites (37 of the 49 that exist) have been updated in the past year.

Even if insights exist at the top, they are usually delayed by a full year – tough considering the extreme growth rate of Internet services. Data on the use of ICTs by individuals will be limited for years to come. Although more countries are conducting their own surveys of individual ICT trends, resources are still limited.

In the meantime, we plan on searching individual communications ministry websites for additional telecoms data. Most African nations have at least one government ministry dedicated to communications. The question is whether the ministries source their own data or if they adapt annual reports from regulators and operators.

The list of regulators and their URLs can be found at Africa & Middle East Telecom Week.