(Ecofin Agency) - To develop faster, Madagascar will fully liberalize its telecommunications sector. The country’s telecom watchdog, the ARTEC, launched a tender in this framework last week.
Madagascar’s ICT regulator, the ARTEC, will award interested firms with licenses to launch and run public satellite communication networks. Applicants must submit their bids between 28 December 2023 and 28 March 2024.
The move aligns with the government’s full ICT liberalization policy. Antananarivo adopted a decree to this end last April. Specifically, the policy aims to "remove the locks" and encourage investment in all segments of the national telecoms market. It also aims to foster greater competition and reduce consumer prices.
Ultimately, awarding satellite licenses should speed up the coverage of Madagascar's territory with mobile telephony services and high-speed Internet connectivity. Space technology is best suited to this purpose, as it offers greater reach, extending access to terrestrial networks to rural parts of the country.
Madagascar had 13.1 million cell phone subscribers at the start of 2023, for a penetration rate of 43.8%, according to DataReportal. At the same time, the number of Internet subscribers (mobile and fixed) stood at 5.9 million, or 19.7% of the island's population.
Isaac K. Kassouwi