Lesotho - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics

Executive summary

Vodacom Lesotho launches LTE, capitalising on low fixed-line broadband penetration

This 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.

Telecom services in Lesotho are managed by a privatised national operator, Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL). There is effective competition in the mobile sector between South Africa-based Vodacom and ETL, though mobile market penetration remains below the regional average.

Fixed-line teledensity is also low, but the network has gained value since DSL broadband technology was deployed in 2007. In parallel, ETL has rolled out a CDMA2000 fixed-wireless network, upgrades with EV-DO technology, to provide fixed-line and wireless broadband services. 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, 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. In late 2014 Vodacom also launched commercial services based on LTE technology.

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:

Political disruption jeopardising investor confidence in Lesotho; 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; Universal Service Agency expanding base tower infrastructure in remote areas; report includes an updated fixed-line broadband table, operator data to Q1 FY2015; recent market developments.

Companies covered in this report:

Telecom Lesotho, Econet Ezi-Cel, Vodacom Lesotho, Eskom, Comnet.

Estimated market penetration rates in Lesotho’s telecoms sector – end-2014

Market
Penetration rate
Mobile
%
Fixed
%
Internet
%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Table of Contents

  • 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 Mobile broadband
    • 8.7 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 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 9.6 Satellite mobile
    • 9.7 M-payment services
  • 10. Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Lesotho – 2014 (e)
  • 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 - 2015
  • Table 9 – International bandwidth – 2005 - 2013
  • Table 10 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 11 – Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 12 – Fixed-line internet and broadband subscribers – 2002 - 2015
  • Table 13 – ETL capped DSL pricing – 2014
  • Table 14 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2012- 2014
  • Table 15 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010- 2014
  • Table 16 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 17 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2005 - 2015
  • Table 18 – Vodacom Lesotho subscribers and churn rate – 2002 - 2015
  • Table 19 – Vodacom Lesotho ARPU – 2011 - 2015
  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 2005 – 2015
  • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2005 – 2015
  • Chart 3 – Fixed-line internet and broadband subscribers – 2002 – 2015
  • Chart 4 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2015
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Lesotho
  • Exhibit 2 – Eskom’s licence dispute

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