Eswatini (Swaziland) - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Eswatini (Swaziland) - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Eswatini (Swaziland) was one of the last countries in the world to abolish an almost complete monopoly in all sectors of its telecommunications market. Until 2011 the state-owned posts and telecommunications operator SPTC also acted as the industry regulator and had a stake in the country's sole mobile network, in an uneasy partnership with MTN. A new independent regulatory authority was established in late 2013 and has since embarked on radical changes to the telecom sector. SPTC was provided with a unified licence in early 2016, while MTN Swaziland secured spectrum in the 1800MHz band to provide LTE services and Swazi Mobile has launched 2G, 3G and LTE services, supported by a network sharing agreement with MTN.
Mobile market penetration in Eswatini is well above the average for the region, though subscriber growth has slowed in recent years. Real competition should provide a welcome boost to take the market to the next level.
The internet sector has been open to competition with four licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but prices have remained high and market penetration relatively low. Although DSL services were introduced in 2008, development of the sector has been hampered by the limited fixed-line infrastructure and a lack of competition in the access and backbone network.
The country is landlocked, and so the country depends on neighbouring countries for international fibre bandwidth. This meant that access pricing was high for many years, though prices have fallen more recently in line with greater bandwidth availability resulting from several new submarine fibre optic cable systems that have reached the region in recent years.
BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.
On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.
Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.
The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

Swazi Mobile gains mobile market share;
SIM card registration process to end in April 2019;
MTN expands LTE service reach;
MPs call for government to open access to the national fibre infrastructure and international gateway;
Mbabane Internet Exchange Point (MB-IX) is opened to route local traffic;
Report update includes operator data to Q4 2018, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Swaziland Posts & Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC), Swazi MTN, Africa Online, Posix, Real Image, Viettel, Swazi Mobile.

1 Key statistics
2 Country overview
3 COVID-19 and its impact on the telecom sector
3.1 Economic considerations and responses
3.2 Mobile devices
3.3 Subscribers
3.4 Infrastructure
4 Telecommunications market
4.1 Market analysis
5 Regional Africa Market Comparison
5.1 TMI vs GDP
5.2 Mobile and mobile broadband
5.3 Fixed and mobile broadband
6 Regulatory environment
6.1 Regulatory authority
6.2 Market liberalisation
7 Fixed network operator
8 Telecommunications infrastructure
8.1 Overview of the national telecom network
8.2 International infrastructure
9 Fixed-line broadband market
9.1 Introduction and statistical overview
9.2 Fixed-line broadband technologies
10 Digital Economy
10.1 E-banking
11 Mobile market
11.1 Market analysis
11.2 Regulatory issues
11.3 Mobile infrastructure
11.4 Mobile network operators
11.5 Mobile content and applications
12 Related reports
Table 1 Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Eswatini 2020 (e)
Table 2 SPTC financial results 2004 2012
Table 3 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eswatini 1999 2009
Table 4 Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eswatini 2010 2018
Table 5 International bandwidth 2008 2016
Table 6 Internet users and penetration rate in Eswatini 2000 2018
Table 7 Proportion of households with internet access 2007 2018
Table 8 Broadband subscribers in Eswatini 2008 2018
Table 9 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Eswatini 1999 2009
Table 10 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Eswatini 2010 2018
Table 11 Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2010 2018
Table 12 Swazi MTN subscribers 2012 2018
Table 13 Swazi MTN revenue 2015 2018
Table 14 Swazi MTN ARPU 2001 2018
Table 15 Swazi Mobile subscribers 2017 2018
Chart 1 Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita 2018
Chart 2 Southern Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita 2018
Chart 3 Africa Bottom-tier Telecoms Maturity Index (Market Emergents) 2018
Chart 4 Southern Africa Telecoms Maturity Index by country 2018
Chart 5 Southern Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration 2018
Chart 6 Southern Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates 2018
Chart 7 Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eswatini 2005 2018
Chart 8 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Eswatini 2005 2018
Chart 9 Swazi MTN revenue 2015 2018
Exhibit 1 Map of Eswatini
Exhibit 2 Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
Exhibit 3 Southern Africa - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
Exhibit 4 Swazi MTN licence conditions

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