Botswana’s telecommunications sector has grown phenomenally over the years and mobile penetration is expected to hit record highs while internet usage will also rise on competition in the market. An independent study by Fast Market Research has found that Botswana has one of the highest mobile market penetration rates in Africa.
The study, titled “Botswana – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Market Insights and Statistics” credits the growth to effective regulatory reforms, which turned the country’s telecom market into one of the most liberalised in the region. A prelude of the study says Botswana has a service-neutral licensing or PTO regime which takes into account the increasing convergence of technologies and services.
“Botswana has one of the highest mobile market penetration rates in Africa, approaching 160%,” said Fast Market Research, which distributes market research and business information.
The three mobile companies namely; Mascom, Orange and beMOBILE slug it out for a share in the lucrative telecoms business, taking advantage of the country’s strong purchasing power. The media was recently abuzz with news of a war of dominance between Mascom and Orange as both grabbed headlines on 4G offerings.
“With Orange 4G, you will be able to have high quality video conferences. It is going to change the way you are interacting with the digital world,” pledged Orange Botswana Chief Executive Officer, Dr Patrick Benon.
Mascom Chief Executive Officer, Jose Couciero responded: “We will be launching LTE 4G very soon”.
On the other hand, Fast Market Research revealed that after a period of stagnation, the number of internet users has risen strongly in recent years, largely as a result of lower prices following improvements in international connectivity.
“Historically, the landlocked country has depended on satellites for its international bandwidth, and on other countries for transit capacity to landing points of international submarine fibre optic cable systems,” it said.
“The landing of additional cables in the region in 2011 and 2012 has improved the competitive situation in this sector, while prices for connectivity have fallen by up to 70%.”
In this regard, mobile phone companies are competing with a large number of ISPs, some of which have rolled out their own wireless access infrastructure. Companies covered in the report: Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), Mascom Wireless (MTN), Orange Botswana (Vista Cellular), beMOBILE, Botsnet, MTN Business, InfoBotswana (IBIS), Broadband Botswana Internet (BBI), OPQ Net, Mega Internet, Global Broadband Solution (GBS), Tsagae Communications, Virtual Business Network Services (VBN), Bytes Technology, Fourth Dimension, Hi-Performance Systems, Microteck Enterprises, Tharinet, Netspread and First National Bank.