O3b Networks to provide satellite internet in Somalia

Somalia’s telecom market is unique, having managed to thrive despite there having been no central government since 1991 when a dictatorial regime was overthrown. Through the anarchy which has followed, and which continues in many areas, the telecoms sector has flourished. It is highly competitive, particularly in the mobile market where seven networks compete for customers. Some of these operators  also offer fixed-line and internet services. There are no regulations or taxes, and no service obligations. Tariffs are among the lowest in Africa. However, the absence of regulation has also led to problems with frequency spectrum coordination and interconnection between networks.

In addition, the threat of piracy in Somalia’s territorial waters, and beyond, has so far prevented the country from gaining access to international submarine fibre optic cables. This meant that the country for long relied on satellites for international connections, and consequently the broadband capabilities of Somalia’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were limited. However, in late 2013 Liquid Telecom built the country’s first fibre-optic broadband link, connecting across the Kenya border and linking to directly into Hormuud Telecom’s network.

Recent progress in the fight against Islamist militias and the formation of a new government are giving rise to hopes that the country may finally stabilise and become more attractive to foreign investment, which is needed to take the telecoms and broadband sector to the next level. The new government is beginning to regulate the sector and is planning to issue new spectrum licences that will allow the operation of high-speed mobile broadband technologies.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Somalia – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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