eSwatini (Swaziland) - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

eSwatini’s regulator enforces SIM card registration

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 were 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.

Key developments:

Swaziland changes its name to eSwatini; Swazi Mobile signs network sharing agreement with MTN; SIM card registration processed enforced from April 2018; MTN expands LTE service reach; telecom regulator opens investigation into the Swazi MTN JV with Swazi Mobile; MPs call for government to open access to the national fibre infrastructure and international gateway; Mbabane Internet Exchange Point (MB-IX) is launched, as part of a drive to route 80% of local traffic through local IXPs; report update includes operator data to Q4 2017, Telecom Maturity Index tables, 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

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Market analysis
  • 4. Regional African Market Comparison
    • 4.1 Mobile and mobile broadband
    • 4.2 Fixed and mobile broadband
    • 4.3 TMI vs GDP
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Regulatory authority
    • 5.2 Market liberalisation
  • 6. Fixed network operator
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 8.1.1 Market analysis
      • 8.1.2 Broadband statistics
      • 8.1.3 Swaziland Internet Exchange Point
      • 8.1.4 Public internet access locations
    • 8.2 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 8.2.1 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 8.2.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • 8.2.3 Other fixed broadband services
  • 9. Digital Economy
    • 9.1 E-banking
  • 10. Mobile market
    • 10.1 Market analysis
      • 10.1.1 Mobile statistics
      • 10.1.2 Mobile broadband
    • 10.2 Regulatory issues
      • 10.2.1 Second mobile licence
      • 10.2.2 SIM card registration
    • 10.3 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.3.1 Digital networks
    • 10.4 Mobile network operators
      • 10.4.1 Swazi MTN
      • 10.4.2 SPTC
      • 10.4.3 Swazi Mobile
    • 10.5 Mobile content and applications
      • 10.5.1 m-banking
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics eSwatini (Swaziland) – 2017 (e)
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2017
  • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (e)
  • Table 6 – SPTC financial results – 2004 - 2012
  • Table 7 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in eSwatini – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in eSwatini – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 9 – International bandwidth – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Internet users and penetration rate in eSwatini – 2000 - 2018
  • Table 11 – Proportion of households with internet access – 2007 - 2017
  • Table 12 – Broadband subscribers in eSwatini – 2008 - 201
  • Table 13 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in eSwatini – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 14 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in eSwatini – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 15 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 16 – Swazi MTN subscribers – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 17 – Swazi MTN revenue – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 18 – Swazi MTN ARPU – 2001 - 2017
  • Chart 1 – Africa Telecoms Maturity Index – Market Laggards (bottom tier) - 2017
  • Chart 2 – Southern Africa –Telecoms Maturity Index by country - 2017
  • Chart 3 – Southern Africa mobile subscriber penetration vs mobile broadband penetration - 2017
  • Chart 4 – Southern Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates - 2017
  • Chart 6 – Southern Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita - 2017
  • Chart 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in eSwatini – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 8 – Internet users and penetration rate in eSwatini – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 9 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in eSwatini – 2005 - 2018
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of eSwatini
  • Exhibit 3 – Southern Africa - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
  • Exhibit 4 – Swazi MTN licence conditions

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