Telecommunications in Botswana
Botswana has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in Africa. However, internet speeds are relatively slow and data costs are high. The sector’s strong performance during lockdown is attributed to high demand for data services and internet connectivity from all sectors of the economy. However, the pandemic is having a significant impact on mobile phones sales in Botswana due to reduced household incomes. Challenges affecting growth of the sector include a lack of broadband infrastructure, low access to electricity, lack of skills and the competitive advantage of international operators over local operators. Most of the big players in Botswana’s telecoms sector are majority foreign-owned, while locally-owned companies are in the internet service provider segment.
The government has identified ICT as the catalyst for the next wave of economic development, and its ICT policy identifies various areas for development. These include the provision of products and services such as e-commerce, social networking and entertainment, wider broadband access and internet connectivity and internet access for schools, libraries, health centres and community, and using the high mobile penetration rate to ensure the availability of government, health, agriculture, education, and e-commerce services on apps.
Botswana’s telecom services sector revenues are expected to grow, driven by mobile data, cloud computing and fixed broadband. Fixed broadband growth will be supported by expansions and enhancements of fixed broadband networks carried out under the government’s National Broadband Strategy, and rollout of fibre to home infrastructure. But job losses and reduced consumer spending due to the effect of the lockdown on the economy will see consumers spend less on telecoms services and devices.
This report focuses on Botswana’s fixed and mobile telephones, internet and broadband and the infrastructure that supports them. There are profiles of 23 companies including government-owned Botswana Fibre Network (BoFiNet), a wholesaler provider of national and international telecoms infrastructure and other major players such as Mascom Wireless and Orange. Other companies profiled include network operator Liquid Telecommunications and internet service provider Microteck.