Lesotho - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Lesotho gaining on universal access project
Telecom services in Lesotho are managed by a privatised national operator, Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL). The mobile sector is a duopoly between South Africa-based Vodacom and ETL, though competition is insufficient to promote effective price reductions for consumers. Mobile penetration remains below the regional average, while the small size of the market provides little incentive for new entrants.
Fixed-line teledensity is also low, but the fixed network has gained value since DSL services were launched in 2007. In parallel, ETL has rolled out a fixed-wireless network. In addition, the company has introduced a fixed-mobile convergence product based on its GSM network and capitalising on its multi-platform capabilities.
Vodacom was the first operator to introduce mobile broadband services in the country, supplemented with a WiMAX network. In late 2014 the company launched commercial services based on LTE technology.
Although landlocked, Lesotho has benefited from connectivity to the several submarine fibre optic cables which land on African east and west coasts. These have considerably improved international bandwidth, though access prices for the two ISPs remain high and as a consequence internet take-up among consumers has been stymied.
Vodacom Foundation launches m-health service facilitated by M-Pesa; regulator considers imposing SIM card registration; ETL launches 100Mb/s FttP services; improved internet connectivity following landing of international cables; regulator revokes BTL's telecom licence; ETL invests in a GPON network; Universal Service Agency expanding base tower infrastructure in remote areas; report update includes ITU statistics, regulator's March 2017 ICT market report, operator data to Q3 2017, recent market developments.