Botswana - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Botswana’s government commits more funds for ITCs in 2019 budget

Effective regulatory reform has made Botswana’s telecom market one of the most liberalised in the region. There is a service-neutral licensing regime which considers the increasing convergence of technologies and services. Several operators now compete effectively, particularly in the mobile segment.

Botswana has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in Africa, with growth in the number of subscribers having recovered from the sharp fall seen at the end of 2016. Popular use of multiple SIM cards from different operators has delayed the introduction of mobile number portability, with the telecom regulator not convinced of the facility’s economic benefits. In a bid to generate new revenue streams and secure market share, the three mobile network operators (MNOs) – Mascom Wireless (an affiliate of South Africa’s MTN), Orange Botswana (backed by Orange Group) and BTC – have entered the underdeveloped broadband sector by adopting of 3G, LTE and WiMAX technologies. In the fixed-line broadband market they compete with a large number of ISPs, some of which have rolled out their own wireless access infrastructure.

After a period of stagnation, the number of internet users has risen strongly in recent years, largely the result of lower prices following improvements in international connectivity. Historically, the landlocked country has depended on satellites for its international bandwidth, and on other countries for transit capacity to landing points of international submarine fibre optic cable systems. The landing of additional cables in the region in recent years has improved the competitive situation in this sector, while prices for connectivity have fallen by up to 70%. The stability and cheaper cost of fixed-line broadband services continues to attract subscribers, though mobile internet remains the preferred choice for most, particularly among the large proportion of younger people in the country.

The much-delayed privatisation of BTC has been facilitated by the transfer of network assets and the management of BTC’s involvement in two key submarine cables to the newly created wholesale operator Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet). BTC through this process has been transformed into a retailer of services. An IPO was completed in April 2016. There was considerable interest in the 44% of the company made available, with 5% reserved for employees and 51% being retained by the state. Some 50,000 private investors now have a stake in the operator.

Key developments:

  • Orange Botswana launches its Digital Schools Project;
  • Regulator ends off-peak mobile wholesale call rates;
  • MTN Group sells its majority stake in Mascom Wireless;
  • Korea Telecom advises BTC on LTE network optimisation;
  • Orange Money initiates cross-border m-payment platform;
  • Kometsi Telecommunications JV aiming to set up as an MVNO;
  • Government commits BWS461.35 million for ICT infrastructure in 2018-19 budget;
  • BTC reports 3% fall in revenue for fiscal 2018;
  • Orange Botswana partners with Barclays Bank to develop m-money service;
  • BoFiNet completes three fibre network expansion links costing BWP200 million;
  • Regulator introduces Unified Licensing Framework;
  • Report update includes telcos' data to Q4 2018, regulator's 2018 annual report and market data to Q2 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC); Mascom Wireless (MTN); Orange Botswana (Vista Cellular); beMobile; Botsnet; MTN Business; InfoBotswana (IBIS); Broadband Botswana Internet (BBI); OPQ Net; Mega Internet; Global Broadband Solution (GBS); Tsagae Communications; Virtual Business Network Services (VBN); Bytes Technology; Fourth Dimension; Hi-Performance Systems; Microteck Enterprises; Tharinet; Netspread; First National Bank.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Market analysis
  • Regional Africa Market Comparison

    • TMI vs GDP
    • Mobile and mobile broadband
    • Fixed and mobile broadband
  • Regulatory environment

    • Historical overview
    • Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA)
    • Universal Service and Access Strategy
    • Unified Licensing Framework
    • Infrastructure sharing
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
      • Regulatory reform 2006
      • Service-neutral licences since 2007
    • Privatisation
  • Fixed network operators

    • Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC)
    • Liquid Telecom
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • International infrastructure
      • Submarine fibre
  • Fixed-line broadband market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
    • Market analysis
    • Public internet access facilities
    • Botswana Internet Exchange (BINX)
    • White space spectrum
    • Broadband statistics
    • Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • Other fixed broadband services
    • E-health, E-learning
  • Mobile market

    • Recent developments
    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
    • Mobile broadband
    • Regulatory issues
      • Backbone infrastructure
      • SIM card registration
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • Roaming
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • Digital networks
    • Major mobile operators
      • Mascom Wireless
      • Orange Botswana (formerly Vista Cellular)
      • BTC (beMobile)
      • MVNOs
    • Mobile content and applications
      • m-banking, m-money
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Botswana – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telecom aggregate financial data – 2012, 2013, 2015 – 2017
  • Table 3 – Telecom sector investment – 2015 – 2017
  • Table 4 – BOCRA Group surplus financial results – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 5 – BOCRA income – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 6 – BOCRA group income by type – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 7 – Telecom licenses by category – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 8 – BTC financial results – 2005 – 2019
  • Table 9 – BTC revenue by service – 2014 – 2018
  • Table 10 - Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Botswana - 2000-2009
  • Table 11 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Botswana – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 12 – International bandwidth – 2003 – 2016
  • Table 13 - Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Botswana - 2000-2009
  • Table 14 – Internet users and penetration rate in Botswana – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 15 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 16 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2008 – 2019
  • Table 17 – Fixed wireless broadband subscribers – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 18 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 19 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 20 – Mobile market share of subscribers by operator – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 21 – Prepaid and contract subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 22 – Mobile internet subscribers by operator – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 23 – Active mobile broadband penetration – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 24 – MTRs – 2011 – 2014; 2017 – 2018
  • Table 25 – Mascom Botswana ARPU – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 26 – Mascom Botswana subscribers – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 27 – Mascom Botswana revenue – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 28 – Orange Botswana subscribers – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 29 – Orange Botswana mobile revenue (historic) – 2008 – 2014
  • Table 30 – BTC subscribers – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 31 – BTC mobile revenue by service – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 32 – BTC mobile revenue by service – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 33 – Mobile money users – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 34 – Value of mobile money transactions (historic) – 2011 – 2014
  • Table 35 – Mobile money transactions – 2013 – 2014
  • Table 36 – Mobile money users by operator – 2014 – 2018

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Telecom sector financial data – 2012, 2013, 2015 – 2017
  • Chart 2 – Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Southern Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Africa – Top-tier Telecoms Maturity Index (Market Leaders) – 2018
  • Chart 5 – Southern Africa –Telecoms Maturity Index by country – 2018
  • Chart 6 – Southern Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration – 2018
  • Chart 7 – Southern Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates – 2018
  • Chart 8 – BTC financial results – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 9 – BTC revenue by service – 2014 – 2018
  • Chart 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Botswana – 2000 – 2019
  • Chart 11 – Internet users and penetration rate in Botswana – 2000 – 2018
  • Chart 12 – Mobile subscribers in Botswana – 2005 – 2019
  • Chart 13 – Mobile market share of subscribers by operator – 2010 – 2018
  • Chart 14 – Mobile internet subscribers by operator – 2012 – 2018
  • Chart 15 – BTC mobile revenue by service – 2015 – 2018

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Botswana
  • Exhibit 2 – Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
  • Exhibit 3 – Southern Africa - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country

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