Official internet statistics from African telecoms regulators
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:
|Country||Regulator||Most Recent Data||Site Last Updated/Notes|
|Algeria||Autorite de Regulation des Postes et Telecommunications (ARPT)||2009||jan 2012, modern site|
|Angola||Institut Angolias des Communications (INACOM)||2009 (partial data)||oct 2010|
|Benin||Transitory Authority for the Regulation of Posts and Telecommunications (ATRPT)||2009||2012|
|Botswana||Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA)||2010||may 2010|
|Burkina Faso||Autorite Nationale de Regulation des Telecommunications (ARTEL)||2009||feb 2012, new cyber security section|
|Burundi||Agence de Régulation et de Contrôle des Télécommunications (ARCT)||2008||under construction, data from TeleGeography link|
|Cameroon||Agence de Regulation des Telecommunications (ART)||2006||jan 2012|
|Cape Verde||National Communications Agency (ANAC)||2008 (partial)||feb 2012|
|Central African Republic||Agence chargée de la Régulation des Télécommunications (ART)||no site|
|Chad||Office Tchadien de Regulation des Telecoms (OTRT)||2002||2005|
|Comoros||Autorité Nationale de Régulation des Tics (ANRTIC)||dec 2011, some tech issues|
|Congo||L'Agence de Régulation des Postes et Communications Electroniques (ARPCE)||2011 (partial)||2012, founded 2009, very modern, Facebook|
|Cote D'Ivoire||Agence des Telecommunications de Cote d'Ivoire (ATCI)||2011 (video)||oct 2011, under construction|
|Dem. Rep. of Congo||Autorite de Regulation de la Poste et des Telecommunications du Congo (ARPTC)||not found|
|Djibouti||Ministere de la Communication et de la Culture, chargé des Postes et Télécommincations, Porte-Parole du Gouvernement (MCC-PT)||2011||dec 2011, monthly data!|
|Egypt||National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA)||2009||feb 2012|
|Equatorial Guinea||Órgano Regulador de las Telecomunicaciones (ORTEL)||2011 (partial)||jan 2011|
|Eritrea||Communications Department||no site|
|Ethiopia||Ethiopian Telecommunications Agency (ETA)||2009|
|Gabon||Agence de Regulation des Telecommunications (ARTEL)||won't connect|
|Gambia||Gambian Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA)||2011|
|Ghana||National Communications Authority (NCA)||2008||2010|
|Guinea||Regulatory Auhtority for Posts and Telecommunications (ARPT)||2010||feb 2012|
|Guinea-Bissau||Ministry of Telecommunications||no site|
|Kenya||CCK - Communications Commission of Kenya||Q3 2011||feb 2012, good data, Facebook|
|Lesotho||Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA)||2010||2011|
|Liberia||Liberia Telecommunications Authority (LTA)||2010||feb 2012|
|Madagascar||Office Malagasy d'etudes et de Regulation des Telecommunications (OMERT)||2008||mar 2009|
|Malawi||Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA)||2010||jan 2012|
|Mali||Comité de régulation des télécommnunications du Mali (CRT)||2010||oct 2011|
|Mauritania||Autorite de Regulation (AR)||2010||jan 2012|
|Mauritius||Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA)||2009||feb 2012|
|Morocco||Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications (ANRT)||2010||2012|
|Mozambique||Instituto Nacional das Communicacoes de Mozambique||2007||feb 2012|
|Namibia||Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN)||2010||feb 2012, Facebook|
|Niger||L'Autorite de Regulation Multisectorielle (ARM)||2006||jul 2011|
|Nigeria||Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)||2011||2012, Facebook, good data|
|Rwanda||Regulatory Agency for Public Utility Services of Rwanda (RURA)||2011||2012|
|Sao Tome And Principe||ARCEP (France)|
|Senegal||Agence de Régulation des Télécommunications et des Postes (ARTP)||2009||oct 2011|
|Sierra Leone||National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM)||late 2011|
|South Africa||Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA)||2011||2012|
|South Sudan||Ministry of Telecommunications & Postal Services||2009|
|Sudan||National Telecommunications Corporation (NTC)||2011||nov 2011|
|Swaziland||Swaziland Posts & Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC)||2011||2011|
|Tanzania||Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA)||2012||2012, good data|
|Togo||Autorite de Reglementation des Secteurs de Postes et Telecommunications (ART&P)||2010||2012|
|Tunisia||l'Instance Nationale des Télécommunications de Tunisie (INTT)||2010||feb 2012, Twitter|
|Uganda||Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)||2011||2012|
|Zambia||Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA)||2012||feb 2012, Twitter|
|Zimbabwe||Postal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (POTRAZ)||Q3 2011*||2011, official stats from TechZim post|
- 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.