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Botswana
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Telecommunications in Botswana is highly advanced and ranks among the best in the world. Regulatory reform has turned the country into one of the most liberalized telecommunications markets in the region, including a service-neutral licensing regime which takes into account the increasing convergence of technologies and services. The new licensing framework provides access for the existing three telecommunications operators being Mascom Wireless Botswana (Pty) Ltd, Orange Botswana (Pty) Ltd and Botswana Telecommunications Corporations (BTC) to a license, that will allow them to offer among others, mobile telephony, fixed telephony and internet services under one license. This is an endeavor that will see communications market reach a higher level and result in improved communication services.

Licenses & Regulations

The telecommunications industry is regulated by the Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA). It falls under Botswana's Ministry of Science, Communications and Technology. The BTA is mandated to promote the development and provision of efficient telecommunications and broadcasting services in Botswana, in terms of the Telecommunications Act 15 of 1996. There have been notable legal disputes between the BTA and the licensed operators, ranging from issues relating to interconnection and pricing issues.

Fixed Lines

Fixed-line teledensity has declined in recent years and now stands at roughly 8 telephones per 100 persons. However, Botswana is participating in regional development efforts; expanding fully digital system with fiber-optic cables linking the major population centers in the east as. The country had 142,300 main lines in use in 2008. Botswana Telecommunications Corporations (BTC) is Botswana’s national operator. The planned privatization of BTC has been postponed in the wake of the global economic crisis but is expected to be resumed in the near future.

Mobile

Mobile-cellular subscribership is growing rapidly reaching a teledensity of 80 telephones per 100 persons. Mobile penetration has almost exceeded 100% in 2009 with around 2.22 million mobile subscribers in 2010.

Mobile Operators

Average Revenue per User (ARPU)

Mobile penetration has exceeded 100%. However, ARPU has dropped sharply following the entry of a third operator and a sharp drop in GDP as a result of the global economic crisis. ARPU levels for the competing operators have not been publically disclosed.

Internet

In a bid to generate new revenue streams and secure market share, the three mobile operators - Mascom Wireless, Orange Botswana and BeMobile - have entered the underdeveloped broadband sector with different strategies including 3G mobile, WiMAX and bundling with fixed-line (ADSL) services. Here they are competing with a large number of ISPs, some of which are rolling out their own wireless access infrastructure. A nationwide fibre backbone supports a wide range of services, and the landlocked country’s access to international bandwidth is being improved by a regional fibre backbone network and new submarine fibre optic cables off the continent's east and west coasts.

In 2009, Botswana had 120,000 internet users and 8,900 boradband internet subscribers. There are over 40 licensed ISPs with the number of internet hosts reaching 7,341 in 2009.

ADSL has already been introduced in the following areas: Gaborone, Tlkokweng, Mogoditsane, Phakalane, Francistown, Lobatse, Palapye, Maun, Kasane, Selibe-Phikwe, Letlhakane, Jwaneng, Orapa

Key Figures

  • Number of main lines in use: 142,300 (2008)
  • Number of mobile subscribers: 2,220,000 million (2010)
  • Number of internet users: 120,000 (2009)
  • Number of ISPs: Over 40 licensed ISPs in 2009
  • Number of Internet hosts: 7,341 (2009)
  • Broadband internet subscribers: 8,900 (2009)
  • Internet penetration rate: 6.0% (2009)
  • Mobile Penetration rate: estimated at 100% (2009)

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