Somalia’s economic difficulties in recent years have made it difficult for telcos and the government to sustain investment in infrastructure. The government has also had to contend with militant groups which continue on occasion to force the closure of internet services in many areas of the country.
In recent years, though, the government has addressed the lack of guidance which had prevailed since 1991, when a dictatorial regime was overthrown. The National Communications Law was passed in October 2017, aimed at setting a legal and regulatory framework for the telecoms sector, while provision was made in the following year to set up a regulatory authority to oversee the telecom sector. More recently, three types of licenses were mandated to provide clarity to operators, and to bring the market closer into line with international standards. All operators were given until August 2020 to secure one of the three licence types.
Given the poor condition of fixed-line infrastructure, operators have concentrated on mobile connectivity. Their investment plans have involved the development of LTE services to provide mobile data and broadband services.
Despite the many inherent difficulties faced in the country, the telecom market has flourished. Tariffs are among the lowest in Africa, and new cable systems coming on stream in the next few years (providing additional connectivity to Asia and Europe), as well as planned investments from local operators to bolster the country’s national fibre backbone, will lead to downward pressure on retail pricing.
On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes as the remnants of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic remain and as global events, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, continue to play out. However, the market is continuing a positive growth trajectory, supported by a slow economic rebound in the country.
The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in the pursuit of national ICT policy and the promotion of m-money, among other solutions.
Dalkom, Golis Telecom, Hormuud Telecom, Nationlink, Netco, Somafone, Somtel, Telcom Somalia, Telesom, Thuraya
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