Chad remains one of the least developed countries on the continent, while telecom infrastructure is particularly poor. The difficult economic conditions of the country, compounded by a new 18% tax on telecom services which has adversely affected customer spend and consequently on operator revenue, have encouraged these players to consider exiting the market, thus offering some potential for investors to develop services given the low starting base and dwindling competition.
The Internet penetration rate was only 2.6% in 2017. The system of radiotelephone communication stations has high maintenance costs and low telephone density. Fixed-line connections reach less than 1 per 100 persons coupled with mobile-cellular subscribership base of about 45 per 100 persons.
Telecom penetration rates in all sectors – fixed, mobile and internet – are well below African averages. Chad finally gained access to international fibre bandwidth in 2012, but it still lacks a national backbone infrastructure to support efficient broadband services. However, the World Bank-funded Central African Backbone (CAB) project has made progress, and Chad is also party to a Trans-Saharan Backbone project which will link a fibre cable to Nigeria and Algeria. The Tchadian Office for Telecom Regulation (OTRT) is responsible for the regulation of the telecoms market in Tchad.
Chad’s landlocked location results in high transportation costs for imported goods and dependence on neighboring countries. Oil and agriculture are mainstays of Chad’s economy. Oil provides about 60% of export revenues, while cotton, cattle, livestock, and gum arabic provide the bulk of Chad’s non-oil export earnings. The services sector contributes about one-third of GDP and has attracted foreign investment mostly through telecommunications and banking.
Nearly all of Chad’s fuel is provided by one domestic refinery, and unanticipated shutdowns occasionally result in shortages. The country regulates the price of domestic fuel, providing an incentive for black market sales. Chad relies on foreign assistance and foreign capital for most of its public and private sector investment. Investment in Chad is difficult due to its limited infrastructure, lack of trained workers, extensive government bureaucracy, and corruption.
Although multinational partners, such as the African Development Bank, the EU, and the World Bank are likely to continue budget support in 2017, Chad is expected to remain at high debt risk, given its dependence on oil revenue and pressure to spend on subsidies and security
The Société des Télécommunications du Tchad (SotelTchad) is a Chadian telecommunications parastatal providing landline domestic and international telephone service, as well as Internet service. SotelTchad was created in 2000, when domestic phone services were detached from the postal service. The government initially stated its intention to privatize the company through international bidding, but this process was later reversed. The company is responsible for the operation of the fixed telephony network, it is also active in the field of cellular mobile telephony under the brand Salam, and provides access to the Internet by CDMA technology under the trade name Tawali.
*None reported as of June 2017