Tunisia has one of the most developed telecommunications infrastructures in North Africa with broadband prices among the lowest in Africa. Internet access is available throughout the country using a fibre-optic backbone and international access via submarine cables, terrestrial and satellite links.
The Internet penetration rate was over 52% in 2016. The Tunisie Digitale 2020 strategic plan aims to increase it by offering broadband services to all Tunisians in all regions of the country in order to guarantee social inclusion and strengthen digital culture, in addition to contributing to the strengthening of the green economy and sustainable development. In the next few years, the incumbent expects to deploy 1,500 4G sites and 2,000km of fibre-optic cabling. Further, the operator said it would also upgrade its backbone network with Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) technology to cope with the rising demand for high speed connections.
The penetration rates in Tunisia for mobile and internet services are among the highest on the continent’s, while regulatory measures and improved international bandwidth capacity has also meant that consumers benefit from relatively low prices. The mobile sector has experienced exceptional growth since the introduction of a second GSM network in 2002. The Instance Nationale des Telecommunications (INT) is the regulating agency for the telecoms market.
Tunisia’s diverse, market-oriented economy has long been cited as a success story in Africa and the Middle East, but it faces an array of challenges following the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. Following an ill-fated experiment with socialist economic policies in the 1960s, Tunisia embarked on a successful strategy focused on bolstering exports, foreign investment, and tourism, all of which have become central to the country’s economy. Key exports now include textiles and apparel, food products, petroleum products, chemicals, and phosphates, with about 80% of exports bound for Tunisia’s main economic partner, the EU.
Since late 2014, Tunisia’s government has faced challenges reassuring businesses and investors, bringing budget and current account deficits under control, shoring up the country’s financial system, lowering high unemployment, and reducing economic disparities between the more developed coastal region and the impoverished interior. In 2015, successive terrorist attacks against the tourism sector and worker strikes in the phosphate sector, which combined account for nearly 15% of GDP, slowed growth to less than 1% of GDP.
Tunisie Telecom is the incumbent after its creation in 2004. The company was a key player in developing the telecom infrastructure in Tunisia, improving the coverage rate and strengthening its competitiveness. It has also helped to promote the use of IT and develop innovating societis within the telecom domain. Tunisie Telecom has more than 6 million subscribers in the area of fixed-line and mobile telephony and over 8000 employees. It is composed of 24 regional offices or more than 13 thousand private sales centres.
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