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Somalia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Hopes for more stability put Somalia on investors radar

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

Subjects covered include:

Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Telecoms operators;
Infrastructure development;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Internet and broadband development and growth;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
Mobile voice and data markets.

Somalias telecommunications market is unique in the world. There has been no central government since 1991 when a dictatorial regime was overthrown, but despite the anarchy that followed, the telecoms sector has flourished. It is highly competitive with at least seven mobile networks, which also offer fixed-line and Internet services. There are no regulations or taxes and no service obligations, tariffs are among the lowest in Africa. However, the absence of regulation has also led to problems with frequency spectrum coordination and interconnection between networks.

In addition, the threat of piracy in Somalias waters has so far prevented the country from gaining access to international submarine fibre optic cables, which means that it has to rely on satellites for its international connections. As a consequence, the broadband capabilities of Somalias Internet service providers are limited. Plans are now underway to land an international cable in the country for the first time.

Recent progress in the fight against islamist militias and the formation of a new government are giving rise to hopes that the country may finally stabilise and become more attractive to foreign investment, which is needed to take the telecoms and broadband sector to the next level. The new government is beginning to regulate the sector and is planning to issue new spectrum licences that will allow the operation of high-speed mobile broadband technologies.

Market highlights:

A completely unregulated market;
New telecom licences to be issued;
An underdeveloped broadband market;
New government may bring more stability for foreign investment.

Estimated market penetration rates in Somalia’s telecoms sector – end 2013
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 52%
Fixed | 1%
Internet | 1.4%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered in this report:

Dalkom; Golis Telecom; Hormuud Telecom; Nationlink; Netco Ltd; Somafone; Somtel; Telcom Somalia; Telesom; Thuraya.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
4. Overview of Somalias Telecom market
4.1 Fixed-line statistics
4.2 International infrastructure
5. Mobile market
5.1 Mobile statistics
6. Internet and broadband market
6.1 Internet statistics
7. Related reports
Table 1 – Country statistics – 2013
Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2013
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2013
Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2013
Table 5 – National telecommunications authorities
Table 6 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2013
Table 7 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2000 - 2013
Table 8 – Internet users and penetration rate – 1999 - 2013
Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2013
Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2002 - 2013
Exhibit 1 – Map of Somalia and Somaliland

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