Botswana - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Botswana’s government and regulator critical of Liquid Telecom joint venture

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

Although the number of mobile subscribers fell sharply at the end of 2016, Botswana still has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in Africa. 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 Fiber 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:

BTC reports 8.7% increase in revenue for fiscal 2017; government investigates potential illegality of JV between Botswana Power Corporation and Liquid Telecom; 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; regulator imposes reduction in mobile termination rates; Orange Botswana and Mascom extend LTE services; report update includes telcos’ data to Q3 2017, regulator’s 2017 annual report and market data to Q1 2017, 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

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market analysis
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Historical overview
    • 5.2 Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA)
    • 5.3 Universal Service and Access Strategy
    • 5.4 Unified Licensing Framework
    • 5.5 Infrastructure sharing
    • 5.6 Telecom sector liberalisation
      • 5.6.1 Regulatory reform 2006
      • 5.6.2 Service-neutral licences since 2007
    • 5.7 Privatisation
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC)
    • 6.2 Liquid Telecom
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Submarine fibre
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 8.2 Market analysis
    • 8.3 Public internet access facilities
    • 8.4 Botswana Internet Exchange (BINX)
    • 8.5 White space spectrum
    • 8.6 Broadband statistics
    • 8.7 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 8.7.1 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 8.7.2 Other fixed broadband services
    • 8.8 E-health, E-learning
  • 9. Mobile market
    • 9.1 Recent developments
    • 9.2 Market analysis
    • 9.3 Mobile statistics
    • 9.4 Mobile broadband
    • 9.5 Regulatory issues
      • 9.5.1 Backbone infrastructure
      • 9.5.2 SIM card registration
      • 9.5.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 9.5.4 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 9.5.5 Roaming
    • 9.6 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.6.1 Digital networks
    • 9.7 Major mobile operators
      • 9.7.1 Mascom Wireless
      • 9.7.2 Orange Botswana (formerly Vista Cellular)
      • 9.7.3 BTC (beMobile)
    • 9.8 Mobile content and applications
      • 9.8.1 m-banking, m-money
  • 10. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Botswana – 2017 (e)
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2017 (Mar)
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2018
  • Table 4 – Internet and broadband statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (Mar)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Telecom aggregate financial data – 2012, 2013, 2015 - 2017
  • Table 8 – Telecom sector investment – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 9 – BOCRA Group surplus financial results – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 10 – BOCRA income – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 11 – BOCRA group income by type – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 12 – Telecom licenses by category – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 13 – BTC financial results – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 14 – BTC revenue by service – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 15 - Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Botswana - 2000-2009
  • Table 16 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Botswana – 2010 - 2019
  • Table 17 – International bandwidth – 2003 - 2016
  • Table 18 - Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Botswana - 2000-2009
  • Table 19 – Internet users and penetration rate in Botswana – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 20 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2018
  • Table 21 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2019
  • Table 22 – Fixed wireless broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 23 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 24 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2019
  • Table 25 – Mobile market share of subscribers by operator – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 26 – Prepaid and contract market share of subscribers – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 27 – Mobile internet subscribers by operator – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 28 – MTRs – 2011 – 2014; 2017 - 2018
  • Table 29 – Mascom Botswana ARPU – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 30 – Mascom Botswana subscribers – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 31 – Mascom Botswana revenue – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 32 – Orange Botswana subscribers – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 33 – Orange Botswana mobile revenue – 2008 - 2014
  • Table 34 – BTC subscribers – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 35 – BTC mobile revenue by service – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 36 – Mobile money users – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 37 – Value of mobile money transactions – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 38 – Mobile money transactions – 2013 - 2014
  • Table 39 – Mobile money users by operator – 2014 - 2016
  • Chart 1 – Telecom aggregate financial data – 2012, 2013, 2015 – 2017
  • Chart 2 – BTC financial results – 2005 – 2017
  • Chart 3 – BTC revenue by service – 2015 - 2017
  • Chart 4 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Botswana – 2000 – 2019
  • Chart 5 – Internet users and penetration rate in Botswana – 2000 – 2018
  • Chart 6 – Mobile subscribers in Botswana – 2005 - 2019
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Botswana

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