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Botswana - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics

Botswana - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics

Regulator issues consultation on migration to DTTV

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Botswana's telecommunications market.

Subjects covered include:

Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
The impact of the global economic crisis;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Telecoms operators privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Infrastructure development;
Internet and broadband development and growth;
Mobile data services, including 3G and LTE;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
Average Revenue Per User.

Botswana's strong economy is buttressed by diamond mining and tourism. The economy recovered quickly from a brief recession during the global financial crisis (GFC), which erupted in 2008. This caused havoc with the country's tourism industry, and also reduced demand for export commodities. However, the economy recovered quickly, and after the severe slump in 2009 GDP growth reached 8.6% in 2010. Growth has been more moderate since then, falling to 5.9% in 2013 and an anticipated 4.4% for 2014.

In the telecom sector, effective regulatory reform has turned the country's telecom market into one of the most liberalised in the region. There is a service-neutral licensing regime which takes into account the increasing convergence of technologies and services.

Botswana has one of the highest mobile market penetration rates in Africa, approaching 160%. Popular use of multiple SIM cards from different operators has delayed the introduction of mobile number portability, with the telecom regulator not convinced of the facility's economic benefits at present. In a bid to generate new revenue streams and secure market share, the three mobile network operators (MNOs) Mascom Wireless (an affiliate of South Africa's MTN), Orange Botswana (backed by France Telecom/Orange) and BeMobile (a subsidiary of the fixed-line incumbent BTC) have entered the underdeveloped broadband sector with different strategies including 3G mobile, LTE, WiMAX, and bundling with fixed-line (ADSL) services. In this market they compete with a large number of ISPs, some of which have rolled out their own wireless access infrastructure.

After a period of stagnation, the number of internet users has risen strongly in recent years, largely the result of lower prices following improvements in international connectivity. Historically, the landlocked country has depended on satellites for its international bandwidth, and on other countries for transit capacity to landing points of international submarine fibre optic cable systems. The landing of additional cables in the region in 2011 and 2012 has improved the competitive situation in this sector, while prices for connectivity have fallen by up to 70%.

The much delayed privatisation of BTC has been facilitated by the transfer of network assets and the management of BTC's involvement in two key submarine cables to the newly create wholesale operator Botswana Fiber Networks (BoFiNet). BTC has been transformed into a retailer of services.

Market highlights:

Orange Botswana and Mascom launch LTE services; privatisation of BTC put back to sometime later in 2015; Orange signs multi-year managed services contract with Ericsson; BoFiNet signs additional contracts for fibre builds; Universal Access and Service Fund gears up for WiFi network in public spaces; LTE services launched by Mascom Wireless and Orange Botswana; BoFiNet launches as a wholesale provider of telecom services, signs its first deals with telcos; the number of mobile money users grew 14% in Q1 2014, reaching 283,000; report update includes telcos' data to Q4 2014, regulator's market data to December 2014, recent market developments.

Estimated market penetration rates in Botswana's telecoms sector end-2014
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 159%
Fixed | 8.6%
Internet | 8.9%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered in this report:

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC); Mascom Wireless (MTN); Orange Botswana (Vista Cellular); BeMobile; Botsnet; MTN Business; InfoBotswana (IBIS); Broadband Botswana Internet (BBI); OPQ Net; Mega Internet; Global Broadband Solution (GBS); Tsagae Communications; Virtual Business Network Services (VBN); Bytes Technology; Fourth Dimension; Hi-Performance Systems; Microteck Enterprises; Tharinet; Netspread; First National Bank.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Botswana's telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.2.1 Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA)
4.3 Universal Service and Access Strategy
4.4 Infrastructure sharing
4.5 Interconnection and tariffs
4.6 Telecom sector liberalisation in Botswana
4.6.1 Regulatory reform 2006
4.6.2 Service-neutral licences since 2007
5. Fixed network operator in Botswana
5.1 Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC)
5.1.1 Financial results
5.1.2 Privatisation
5.1.3 Services
5.1.4 Fixed-line statistics
5.1.5 Fixed-line infrastructure
5.1.6 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
5.1.7 Public payphones
5.1.8 National backbone network
6. International infrastructure
6.1 Submarine fibre
7. Internet market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet statistics
7.2 Public internet access facilities
7.3 Botswana's ISP market
7.3.1 Botsnet
7.3.2 MTN Business (formerly Verizon, UUNet)
7.3.3 InfoBotswana (IBIS)
7.3.4 Broadband Botswana Internet (BBI)
7.3.5 OPQ Net
7.3.6 Mega Internet
7.3.7 Global Broadband Solution (GBS)
7.3.8 Tsagae Communications
7.3.9 Virtual Business Network Services (VBN)
7.4 Botswana Internet Exchange (BINX)
8. Broadband market
8.1 ADSL
8.2 Wireless broadband
8.3 WiMAX
8.3.1 Orange Livebox
8.3.2 Netspread
8.4 Mobile broadband
8.5 White space spectrum
9. Digital media
9.1 VoIP telephony
9.2 Next Generation Network (NGN)
9.3 E-health, E-learning
9.4 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Botswana's mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Regulatory issues
10.2.1 Backbone infrastructure
10.2.2 Airtime tax
10.2.3 SIM card registration
10.2.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
10.2.5 Mobile Termination rates (MTRs)
10.3 Major mobile operators
10.3.1 Mascom Wireless
10.3.2 Orange Botswana (formerly Vista Cellular)
10.3.3 BeMobile (BTC)
10.4 Mobile data services
10.5 Third generation (3G)
10.6 Long-term Evolution (4G)
10.7 Mobile banking
11. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Botswana 2014 (e)
Table 2 Fixed-line network statistics 2014 (e)
Table 3 Internet provider statistics 2013
Table 4 Internet and social media user statistics 2013 (e)
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2014 (e)
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 BOCRA surplus financial results 2009 - 2014
Table 8 BOCRA income 2012 - 2014
Table 9 BTC financial results 2005 - 2013
Table 10 Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Botswana 2000 - 2015
Table 11 International bandwidth 2003 - 2013
Table 12 Wholesale bandwidth pricing in Botswana by capacity 2011 - 2014
Table 13 Internet users and penetration rate in Botswana 2000 - 2015
Table 14 Broadband subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 15 DSL broadband subscribers 2008 - 2015
Table 16 Fixed wireless broadband subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 17 Mobile internet subscribers 2010 - 2015
Table 18 MNO financial data 2012 - 2013
Table 19 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 1999 - 2004
Table 20 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate 2005 - 2016
Table 21 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2010 - 2013
Table 22 Prepaid and contract market share of subscribers 2013 - 2014
Table 23 MTRs 2011 - 2014
Table 24 Mascom Botswana ARPU 2005 - 2013
Table 25 Mascom Botswana subscribers 2011 - 2014
Table 26 Orange Botswana subscribers 2007 - 2014
Table 27 Orange Botswana mobile revenue 2008 - 2014
Table 28 Be Mobile subscribers 2012 - 2015
Table 29 Mobile money users 2011 - 2014
Table 30 Value of mobile money transactions 2011 - 2013
Chart 1 BTC financial results 2005 2013
Chart 2 Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Botswana 2000 2015
Chart 3 Internet users and penetration rate in Botswana 2000 2015
Chart 4 Mobile subscribers in Botswana 2005 - 2016
Exhibit 1 Map of Botswana

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