Swaziland - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses
Swaziland's Swazi Mobile looks to an IPO
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 Swaziland 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.
Swaziland is landlocked, and so the country depends on neighbouring countries for international fibre bandwidth. This meant that access pricing were 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.
Swazi Mobile signs network sharing agreement with MTN;
MTN expands LTE service reach;
MPs call for government to open access to the national fibre infrastructure and international gateway;
The Mbabane Internet Exchange Point (MB-IX) is launched, as part of a drive to route 80% of local traffic through local IXPs.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Swaziland Posts & Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC), Swazi MTN, Africa Online, Posix, Real Image, Viettel, Swazi Mobile.