- Further international companies are investing in the rapidly growing telecommunications industry of Guinea, where mobile phones and internet is extending outside the capital, Conakry.
Today, the London-based telecom company Gateway Communications announced it had signed two deals in Guinea. It joins foreign investors such as Intercel and ETI SA, seeing a great potential in Guinea's strongly under-developed telecom infrastructure.
Currently, in Guinea there is a mobile penetration of 21.43 percent and five mobile phones for every landline. But new investments are expected to increase these numbers rapidly. "Guinea's telecommunications industry is flourishing," Gateway concluded in a press release today. The country's telecom sector has shown triple digit growth rates for several years.
Foreign Intercel, MTN and Orange currently are Guinea's major telecom service providers, competing with the national provider Sotelgui. Gateway supplies all of US-based Intercel Guinea's international connectivity and critical backhaul services. During six years, the two companies have built a national backbone of cellular links, connecting five major cities via cellular backhaul including Kankan, Labé, Mamou and Nzékoré.
On the internet market, Guinea until now has seen very poor connectivity and low extension. But several subsea cables are about to drastically improve connectivity in the country. While ETI SA, Guinea's leading internet provider, currently only serves business customers, the company now prepares to reach out to ordinary consumers in Conakry.
Gateway's Mike van den Bergh notes that Guinea has a "burgeoning telecommunication market" that is "becoming increasingly vibrant." With an "unsurpassed access to satellite, subsea cable systems and a pan-African terrestrial network," the company would expand its delivery of voice and data for international and local traffic in Guinea, Mr van den Bergh added.
Guinea, with an estimated population of 10 million, has the natural and population resources to become an economic heavyweight in West Africa. Decades of authoritarian rule, corruption and mismanagement however left the country impoverished, while a current democratisation process is slowly attracting foreign investors.
During the decades of mismanagement, infrastructure in Guinea degenerated strongly. Only a few years ago, Guinea had among the world's poorest developed telecom infrastructure, with electricity and very basic telephone and internet connections experiencing constant interruptions. This is now slowly improving as foreign investors are attracted.
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