Lesotho - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Lesotho - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Incumbent player ETL launches a GPON service, vastly improving broadband capabilities.

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

Subjects covered include:

Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
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;
Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G;
Internet and broadband development and growth, including 3G mobile;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
Mobile Average Revenue per User.

Telecommunications in Lesotho has been transformed from a state-owned monopoly to a privatised national operator. There is effective competition in the mobile sector between South Africa-based Vodacom and Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL), though mobile market penetration remains below the regional average.

Fixed-line teledensity is also low, but the network gained more value when ADSL broadband technology was deployed in 2007. In parallel, ETL has rolled out a CDMA2000 fixed-wireless network to provide fixed-line replacements and wireless broadband services, following an upgrade to EV-DO technology. In addition, the company has introduced a fixed-mobile convergence product based on its GSM network and capitalising on its multi-platform capabilities.

Vodacom on the other hand was first to introduce mobile broadband services in the country based on HSPA technology. In parallel, the company has rolled out a WiMAX wireless broadband network. Several other internet service providers have rolled out their own wireless infrastructure.

Although landlocked, Lesotho has benefited from connectivity to the landing of several submarine fibre optic cables on the African east and west coasts, which saw bandwidth quadruple in 2012. Nevertheless, the improved international connectivity has not yet translated to lower broadband prices on the retail level.

Market highlights:

Improved internet connectivity following landing of international cables;
Retail broadband prices remain high;
Relatively high mobile ARPU;
Regulator revokes BTL's telecom licence; ETL invests in a GPON network;
International bandwidth quadrupled to 1Gb/s in 2012.

Companies covered in this report:

Telecom Lesotho, Econet Ezi-Cel, Vodacom Lesotho, Eskom, Comnet.
Estimated market penetration rates in Lesotho's telecoms sector end-2013
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 71%
Fixed | 1.7%
Internet | 5.6%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Lesotho's telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Telecommunication Policy of 1999
4.1.1 National Master Plan
4.2 Telecommunications Act of 2000
4.3 Regulatory authority
4.3.1 Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA)
4.4 Telecom sector liberalisation in Lesotho
4.5 Licence fees
4.6 Universal access fund
5. Fixed network operator in Lesotho
5.1 Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL)
5.1.1 Privatisation
5.1.2 Services
5.1.3 National telecom infrastructure
5.1.4 Wireless local loop (WLL), CDMA2000 1x EV-DO
5.1.5 Fixed-line statistics
6. International infrastructure
6.1 Satellite
6.2 Terrestrial and submarine fibre
7. Internet market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet statistics
7.2 Lesotho's ISP market
7.2.1 Lesotho Office Equipment (LEO)
7.2.2 Comnet
8. Broadband market
8.1 Overview
8.2 ADSL
8.3 WiMAX
8.4 EV-DO
8.5 WiFi
8.6 Fibre-to-the-Premise (FttP)
9. Mobile communications
9.1 Overview of Lesotho's mobile market
9.1.1 Mobile statistics
9.2 Major mobile operators
9.2.1 Vodacom Lesotho
9.2.2 ETL
9.3 Mobile data services
9.4 Third generation (3G) mobile
9.5 Satellite mobile
9.6 M-payment services
10. Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
11. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Lesotho 2013
Table 2 Fixed-line network statistics 2013
Table 3 Internet provider statistics 2013
Table 4 Internet and social media user statistics 2013
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2013
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho 1999 - 2004
Table 8 Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho 2005 - 2014
Table 9 International bandwidth 2005 - 2012
Table 10 Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho 1999 - 2004
Table 11 Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho 2005 - 2014
Table 12 Fixed-line internet and broadband subscribers 2002 - 2014
Table 13 ETL capped DSL pricing 2014
Table 14 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho 1999 - 2004
Table 15 Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho 2005 - 2014
Table 16 Vodacom Lesotho subscribers and churn rate 2002 - 2013
Table 17 Vodacom Lesotho ARPU 2011 - 2013
Chart 1 Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho 2005 2014
Chart 2 Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho 2005 2014
Chart 3 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2014
Exhibit 1 Map of Lesotho
Exhibit 2 Eskom's licence dispute

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