Following talks with Gabon’s telecoms regulator ARCEP, the country’s incumbent fixed network operator Gabon Telecom has announced cuts in its fixed broadband internet rates. Its 256kbps ADSL monthly package cost dropped by 25% from XAF20,000 to XAF15,000 (from around USD37.6 down to USD28.2), while its 512kbps service fell in price by a third, from XAF29,500 to XAF20,000 (around USD55.5 to USD37.6). The monthly price for a 1Mbps connection also fell by a third, from XAF45,000 to XAF29,500 (around USD84.7 to USD55.5).
Director general of Gabon Telecom, Lhoussaine Oussalah, and chairman of ARCEP, Mombo Lin, signed an agreement authorising the lower prices which, according to Oussalah, are aimed at supporting development in Gabon. As reported by Agence Ecofin, Lin also expressed hope that other communications companies in Gabon will ‘follow the example’ of Gabon Telecom by lowering their prices; ARCEP specifically aims to see the cost of pre-paid mobile top-up cards fall ‘by the end of the year or early next year.’ TeleGeography notes that last month the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, Airtel Gabon, lowered the cost of its GPRS/EDGE mobile internet access services, as it prepares to introduce commercial 3G services. In December 2011 Airtel signed up to an international cable bandwidth access deal with Gabon Telecom via the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE cable, a deal which followed the regulator’s February 2011 declaration that the incumbent telco must open access to the submarine cable to all Gabonese operators, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes. Meanwhile, Gabon is currently preparing for the commercial launch of services in the country over the new Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) undersea cable.