Somalia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

O3b Networks to provide satellite internet in Somalia

Somalia’s telecom market is unique, having managed to thrive despite there having been no central government since 1991 when a dictatorial regime was overthrown. Through the anarchy which has followed, and which continues in many areas, the telecoms sector has flourished. It is highly competitive, particularly in the mobile market where seven networks compete for customers. Some of these operators 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 Somalia’s territorial waters, and beyond, has so far prevented the country from gaining access to international submarine fibre optic cables. This meant that the country for long relied on satellites for international connections, and consequently the broadband capabilities of Somalia’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were limited. However, in late 2013 Liquid Telecom built the country’s first fibre-optic broadband link, connecting across the Kenya border and linking to directly into Hormuud Telecom’s network.

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.

Estimated market penetration rates in Somalia’s telecoms sector – end 2015 (e)

Market
Penetration rate
Mobile
58%
Fixed
0.6%
Internet
2.1%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Key developments:

  • Orb 3 Networks signs deals with three ISPs to extend wireless internet services;
  • Rapid Communications reportedly awarded a mobile banking licence;
  • New government may bring more stability for foreign investment;
  • Liquid Telecom builds the country’s first fibre-optic broadband link;
  • Dalkom provides connectivity via the EASSy cable;
  • Militants force telcos to cut internet links;
  • Telesom expands mobile wallet service, enables remittances from abroad;
  • SEACOM cable lands in Mogadishu;
  • Somtel contracts Alcatel-Lucent to develop LTE infrastructure;
  • Glocall Telecoms launches LTE;
  • Three mobile operators agree to interconnect their networks.

Companies mentioned in this report:

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Overview of Somalia's Telecom market
    • 4.1 Fixed-line statistics
    • 4.2 International infrastructure
  • 5. Mobile market
    • 5.1 Mobile statistics
    • 5.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
  • 6. Internet and broadband market
    • 6.1 Internet statistics
  • 7. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2013
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2015 (e)
  • Table 5 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 6 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2015
  • Table 7 – International bandwidth – 2012 - 2014
  • Table 8 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2000 - 2015
  • Table 9 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 10 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2005 - 2015
  • Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2015
  • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2005 - 2015
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Somalia and Somaliland

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