Swaziland is 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 South Africa’s MTN. A new independent regulatory authority was established in late 2013 and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has urged the government to issue a second mobile licence. SPTC had temporarily entered the mobile market independently using its CDMA network but was challenged about this by MTN in the courts.
In early 2014 the government initiated a new organisational structure for SPTC, which is focussed on maintaining and operating the national telecom backbone infrastructure while a new subsidiary operates the telephony business.
Despite the lack of competition, mobile market penetration in Swaziland has been well above the African average, though subscriber growth has slowed in recent years. The average revenue per user (APRU) is one of the highest in Africa. Real competition is now required to take the market to the next level, and to this end the telecom regulator and government are formulating the legislative and regulatory conditions to enable Viettel, which in late 2014 had bid for a licence to operate mobile telephony services under the Swavitel brand, to enter the market.
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. ADSL was introduced in 2008 and 3G mobile broadband services in 2011, but development of the sector has been hampered by the limited fixed-line infrastructure and a lack of competition in the access and backbone network.
Swaziland has a relatively well-developed fibre optic backbone network. However, being landlocked, the country depends on neighbouring countries for international fibre bandwidth. This meant that access pricing was high, though prices have fallen in recent years in line with greater bandwidth availability resulting from several new submarine fibre optic cable systems that have reached the region in recent years.
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Swaziland Posts & Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC), Swazi MTN, Africa Online, Posix, Real Image, Viettel.
Companies (Major Players)
Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Regulations & Government Policies
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Number of pages 28
Last updated 21 Oct 2015
Lead Analyst: Henry Lancaster
We wanted to extend our Com World Series of telecoms industry events to the South Pacific region and we were in urgent need of a partner in the region who could assist us with confirming the involvement of governments, telcos and more. Paul Budde and his team executed this perfectly. Paul also provided us with very high quality reports on every aspect of the project, including an amazingly thorough and actionable report on the conference presentations and discussion.
Joe Willcox, Commercial Content Director, Emap Connect, Emap
Bahrain - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband
US$215.00 until 5 Oct 2016
(normal price US$435.00)
Iran - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband
US$210.00 until 5 Oct 2016
(normal price US$420.00)
A selection of downloadable samples from our Annual Publications catalogue.
Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to Paul's FREE weekly News & Views.