Vodacom Lesotho launches LTE, capitalising on low fixed-line broadband penetration
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.
ETL launches 100Mb/s FttP services; 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 mentioned in this report:
Telecom Lesotho, Econet Ezi-Cel, Vodacom Lesotho, Eskom, Comnet.
Estimated market penetration rates in Lesotho’s telecoms sector – end-2015 (e)
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)