Lesotho - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Vodacom Lesotho launches m-health service using M-Pesa

Telecom services in Lesotho are managed by a privatised national operator, Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL). There is effective competition in the mobile sector between South Africa-based Vodacom and ETL, though mobile market penetration remains below the regional average.

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 CDMA2000 fixed-wireless network, upgraded with EV-DO technology, to provide fixed-line and wireless broadband services. In addition, the company has introduced a fixed-mobile convergence product based on its GSM network and capitalising on its multi-platform capabilities.

Vodacom was the first operator to introduce mobile broadband services in the country, based on HSPA technology. In parallel, the company has rolled out a WiMAX network. Several other internet service providers have rolled out their own wireless infrastructure. In late 2014 Vodacom also launched commercial services based on LTE technology.

Although landlocked, Lesotho has benefited from connectivity to the several submarine fibre optic cables which land on African east and west coasts. These quadrupled international bandwidth in 2012, and contributed to lower end-user prices.

Key developments:

Vodacom Foundation launched m-health service facilitated by M-Pesa; regulator considers imposing SIM card registration; ETL launches 100Mb/s FttP services; ETL moving to per second billing; improved internet connectivity following landing of international cables; regulator revokes BTL’s telecom licence; ETL invests in a GPON network; Universal Service Agency expanding base tower infrastructure in remote areas; report update includes ITU statistics, operator data to Q2 2016, recent market developments.

Market penetration rates in Lesotho’s telecoms sector – end-2016 (e)

Penetration of telecoms services: Penetration
Fixed-line telephony 1.7%
Internet users 20.6%
Mobile SIM (population) 109%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies mentioned in this report:

Telecom Lesotho, Econet Ezi-Cel, Vodacom Lesotho, Eskom, Comnet.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Historical overview
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Telecommunication Policy of 1999
      • 5.1.1 National Master Plan
    • 5.2 Telecommunications Act of 2000
    • 5.3 Regulatory authority
    • 5.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 5.5 Privatisation
    • 5.6 Licence fees
    • 5.7 SIM card registration
    • 5.8 Universal Service Fund (USF)
  • 6. Fixed network operator
    • 6.1 Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL)
      • 6.1.1 Services
      • 6.1.2 Wireless local loop (WLL), CDMA2000 1x EV-DO
    • 6.2 International infrastructure
      • 6.2.1 Satellite
      • 6.2.2 Terrestrial and submarine fibre
  • 7. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 7.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 7.2 Broadband statistics
    • 7.3 Fixed-line broadband technologies
          • 7.3.1 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
          • 7.3.2 Other fixed broadband services
      • 8. Mobile market
        • 8.1 Market analysis
        • 8.2 Mobile statistics
        • 8.3 Mobile broadband
        • 8.4 Mobile infrastructure
          • 8.4.1 Digital networks
          • 8.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
        • 8.5 Major mobile operators
          • 8.5.1 Vodacom Lesotho
          • 8.5.2 ETL
        • 8.6 Mobile content and applications
          • 8.6.1 m-payment
          • 8.6.2 m-learning
      • 9. Related reports
      • Table 1 – Country statistics Lesotho – 2016 (e)
      • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2016
      • Table 4 – Internet and social media user statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
      • Table 7 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 9 – International bandwidth – 2005 - 2015
      • Table 10 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 11 – Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 12 – Proportion of households with internet access in Lesotho – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 13 – Fixed-line internet and broadband subscribers – 2002 - 2017
      • Table 14 – ETL capped DSL pricing – 2016
      • Table 15 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2012- 2017
      • Table 16 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 17 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 18 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010- 2017
      • Table 19 – Vodacom Lesotho subscribers and churn rate – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 20 – Vodacom Lesotho active data subscribers – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 21 – Vodacom Lesotho ARPU – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 22 – ETL mobile subscribers – 2014 - 2016
      • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 2005 – 2017
      • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2005 – 2017
      • Chart 3 – Fixed-line internet and broadband subscribers – 2007 – 2017
      • Chart 4 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2017
      • Exhibit 1 – Map of Lesotho
      • Exhibit 2 – Eskom’s licence dispute

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