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:
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);
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.
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.