Eswatini (Swaziland) was one of the last countries in the world to abolish an almost complete monopoly in all sectors of its telecommunications market. Until 2011 the state-owned posts and telecommunications operator SPTC also acted as the industry regulator and had a stake in the country’s sole mobile network, in an uneasy partnership with MTN. A new independent regulatory authority was established in late 2013 and has since embarked on radical changes to the telecom sector. SPTC was provided with a unified licence in early 2016, while MTN Swaziland secured spectrum in the 1800MHz band to provide LTE services and Swazi Mobile has launched 2G, 3G and LTE services, supported by a network sharing agreement with MTN.
Mobile market penetration in Eswatini is well above the average for the region, though subscriber growth has slowed in recent years. Real competition should provide a welcome boost to take the market to the next level.
The internet sector has been open to competition with four licensed Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but prices have remained high and market penetration relatively low. Although DSL services were introduced in 2008, development of the sector has been hampered by the limited fixed-line infrastructure and a lack of competition in the access and backbone network.
The country is landlocked, and so the country depends on neighbouring countries for international fibre bandwidth. This meant that access pricing was high for many years, though prices have fallen more recently in line with greater bandwidth availability resulting from several new submarine fibre optic cable systems that have reached the region in recent years.
Swazi Mobile gains mobile market share;
SIM card registration process to end in April 2019;
MTN expands LTE service reach;
MPs call for government to open access to the national fibre infrastructure and international gateway;
Mbabane Internet Exchange Point (MB-IX) is opened to route local traffic;
Report update includes operator data to Q4 2018, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Swaziland Posts & Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC), Swazi MTN, Africa Online, Posix, Real Image, Viettel, Swazi Mobile.
Table of Contents
Regional Africa Market Comparison
TMI vs GDP
Mobile and mobile broadband
Fixed and mobile broadband
Fixed network operator
Overview of the national telecom network
Fixed-line broadband market
Introduction and statistical overview
Swaziland Internet Exchange Point
Public internet access locations
Fixed-line broadband technologies
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
Other fixed broadband services
Second mobile licence
SIM card registration
Mobile network operators
Mobile content and applications
List of Tables
Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Eswatini – 2018 (e)
Table 2 – SPTC financial results – 2004 – 2012
Table 3 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eswatini – 1999 – 2009
Table 4 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eswatini – 2010 – 2018
Table 5 – International bandwidth – 2008 – 2016
Table 6 – Internet users and penetration rate in Eswatini – 2000 – 2018
Table 7 – Proportion of households with internet access – 2007 – 2018