Lesotho - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Vodacom Lesotho early to start 3.5GHz 5G trials

Telecom services in Lesotho are managed by a privatised national operator, Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL). The mobile sector is a duopoly between South Africa-based Vodacom and ETL, though competition is insufficient to promote effective price reductions for consumers. Mobile penetration remains below the regional average, while the small size of the market provides little incentive for new entrants.

Fixed-line teledensity is also low, but the fixed network has gained value since DSL services were launched in 2007. In parallel, ETL has rolled out a fixed-wireless network. In addition, the company has introduced a fixed-mobile convergence product and is capitalising on its multi-platform capabilities.

Vodacom was the first operator to introduce mobile broadband services in the country, supplemented with a WiMAX network. In late 2014 the company launched commercial services based on LTE technology. This was followed by fixed-wireless 5G trials in early 2019 based on a trial 3.5GHz licence. Vodacom Lesotho was among the first network operators in the region to conduct such trials.

Although landlocked, Lesotho has benefited from connectivity to the several submarine fibre optic cables which land on African east and west coasts. These have considerably improved international bandwidth, though access prices for the two ISPs remain high and as a consequence internet take-up among consumers has been stymied.

Key developments:

  • Vodacom Lesotho starts 5G trials;
  • ETL expands FttP network;
  • Vodacom Foundation launches m-health service facilitated by M-Pesa;
  • Regulator considers imposing SIM card registration;
  • Improved internet connectivity following landing of international cables;
  • Universal Service Agency expanding base tower infrastructure in remote areas;
  • Report update includes ITU statistics, regulator’s 2017 ICT market report, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, operator data to Q4 2018, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Telecom Lesotho, Econet a, Vodacom Lesotho, Eskom, Comnet.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Historical overview
  • Regional Africa Market Comparison

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

    • Telecommunication Policy of 1999
    • ICT policy 2005
    • Communications Policy 2008
    • National Master Plan
    • Telecommunications Act of 2000
    • Communications Act of 2012
    • National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP)
    • Regulatory authority
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
    • Privatisation
    • Licence fees
    • SIM card registration
    • Universal Service Fund (USF)
  • Fixed network operator

    • Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL)
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • International infrastructure
      • Satellite
      • Terrestrial and submarine fibre
  • Fixed-line broadband market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
    • Broadband statistics
    • Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • Other fixed broadband services
  • Mobile market

    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
    • Mobile broadband
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • 5G
      • 4G (LTE)
      • 3G
      • Other infrastructure developments
    • Major mobile operators
      • Vodacom Lesotho
      • ETL
    • Mobile content and applications
      • m-payment
      • m-learning
  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Lesotho – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 3 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 4 – International bandwidth – 2001 – 2016
  • Table 5 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 6 – Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 7 – Proportion of households with internet access in Lesotho – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 8 – Fixed-line internet subscribers – 2002 – 2018
  • Table 9 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 10 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2011- 2018
  • Table 11 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho – 1999 – 2009
  • Table 12 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 13 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010- 2018
  • Table 14 – Vodacom Lesotho subscribers and churn rate – 2002 – 2018
  • Table 15 – Vodacom Lesotho active data subscribers – 2014 – 2018
  • Table 16 – Vodacom Lesotho ARPU – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 17 – Vodacom Lesotho revenue – 2017 – 2018
  • Table 18 – ETL mobile subscribers – 2014 – 2016
  • Table 19 – Vodacom Lesotho M-Pesa subscribers – 2017 – 2018

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 2 – Southern Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Africa – Middle-tier Telecoms Maturity Index (Market Challengers) – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Southern Africa –Telecoms Maturity Index by country – 2018
  • Chart 5 – Southern Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration – 2018
  • Chart 6 – Southern Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates – 2018
  • Chart 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 8 – Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 9 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 – 2018
  • Chart 10 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 11 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010- 2018

List of Exhibits

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

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