Banner 3
Banner 4
Select another country

Somalia has some of the best telecommunications systems in Africa. After the start of the civil war, various new telecommunications companies began to spring up and compete to provide missing infrastructure. Funded by Somali entrepreneurs and backed by expertise from China, Korea and Europe, these nascent telecommunications firms offer affordable mobile phone and internet services that are not available in many other parts of the continent. Customers can conduct money transfers and other banking activities via mobile phones, as well as easily gain wireless internet access.

After forming partnerships with multinational corporations such as Sprint, ITT and Telenor, these firms now offer the cheapest and clearest phone calls in Africa.

Investment in the telecom industry is one of the clearest signs that Somalia's economy has continued to grow despite the ongoing civil strife in parts of the southern half of the country. Although in need of some regulation, the sector provides invaluable communication services, and in the process, greatly facilitates job creation and income generation.

Prominent Somali telecommunications companies (from a list of 10) include Golis Telecom Group, Hormuud Telecom, Somafone, Nationlink, Netco,Telcom and Somali Telecom Group. Golis Telecom Somalia is the largest telecommunications operator in northeastern Somalia. Netco, on the other hand, is the largest telecommunications firm in the autonomous Puntland region of Somalia. However, the leading telecommunications company in the whole country remains to be Somafone Telecommunications Service Company.

Hormuud Telecom alone grosses about $40 million a year. Despite their rivalry, several of these companies signed an interconnectivity deal in 2005 that allows them to set prices, maintain and expand their networks, and ensure that competition does not get out of control.

Licenses & Regulations

Somalia, from 1991 to 2006, is cited as a real-world example of a stateless society and legal system. Since the fall of Siad Barre's government in January 1991, there had been no permanent national government in Somalia until the current Transitional Federal Government. In many areas there were, and still are, no formal regulations or licensing requirements for businesses and individual. The same applies to the telecommunications industry.

Fixed Lines

The Somali telecommunication companies also provide services to every city, town and hamlet in Somalia. There are presently around 25 mainlines per 1,000 persons, and the local availability of telephone lines (tele-density) is higher than in neighboring countries; three times greater than in adjacent Ethiopia. The World Bank reported in 2007 that only about 1.5% of the population had a telephone resulting in the emergence of ten fiercely competitive telephone companies.

The number of main lines in use reached 100,000 in 2008.


Somalia’s number of mobile subscribers has reached 2.2 million in 2010 which are benefiting from the services provided by the country’s numerous mobile operators which are listed below.

Mobile Operators

Average Revenue per User (ARPU)

No information regarding the ARPU rates of Somalia’s mobile operators has been publically disclosed.


Somalia was the last country in Africa to access the Internet in August 2000, with only 57 web sites known as of 2003. The country code top-level domain .so, allocated to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia in 2009, is non-functional and therefore not in use. Both wireless service and Internet cafés are available.

Four Internet Service Providers (ISPs), one each in Boosaaso and Hargeisa, and two in Mogadishu (2004), offer internet access to some 102,000 users (2009), up from just 200 in 2000. This contributes to 1% of the population.

Key Figures

  • Number of main lines in use: 100,000 (2008)
  • Number of mobile subscribers: 2,220,000 (2010)
  • Number of internet users: 102,000 (2009)
  • Number of ISPS: 4 licensed providers (2004)
  • Internet penetration rate: 1% (2009)

Back to top>