[zawya] Government investments and increased competition may drive further growth in Morocco's mobile phone sector in 2010.
A third operator and projected three-fold expansion in 3G internet and e-commerce may cause a boom in Morocco's mobile phone business in 2010.
"In 2010 we expect triple-digit growth of 250% to a projected turnover level of 300 million dirhams for e-commerce," Maroc Telecommerce technologies and development manager Samira Gourroum said. Maroc Telecommerce is an online payment platform.
The trend maintains 2009's rapid growth, said the manager, adding: "In 2009, the market saw turnover of more than 104.5 million dirhams from a total of 78,500 transactions."
Telecom market penetration already exceeds 80% in Morocco, but that number may grow with the arrival of a new mobile operator, Wana. The company's launch in late February will pit it against established players Meditel and Maroc Telecom, who already have 25 million customers.
Wana's entry into the market may also expand 3G use in Morocco. Mobile internet exceeded broadband use in Morocco for the first time in 2009, reaching 54% of the country's 1 million internet subscribers. Increased competition among Wana, Meditel and Maroc Telecom may spur further growth.
A 100-million dirham government subsidy is also likely to spur expansion, Casablanca Technopark CEO Omar Balafrej said.
"This is a landmark measure forming part of the sector-wide programme known as Maroc Numeric 2009-2013, which is intended to support the implementation of innovative projects," he added.
The fund, which will subsidise private and public shareholders, will target newly-created companies and firms entering the fields of mobile services, e-payment, security, web design, computer graphics, multimedia and software development.
The emergence of Moroccan-based iPhone applications marks the growth of mobile internet enthusiasm in the region. The emarrakech.info iPhone widget by Point Info is one example.
"The development of mobile applications, in particular on the iPhone, provides an opportunity for Moroccan content to be made international and reach new users and readerships," Point Info manager Tarik Essadi said.
Surge predicted in Moroccan mobile use