Lesotho - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses: May 2018

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Executive summary

Lesotho gaining on universal access project

Telecom services in Lesotho are managed by a privatised national operator, Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL). The mobile sector is a duopoly between South Africa-based Vodacom and ETL, though competition is insufficient to promote effective price reductions for consumers. Mobile penetration remains below the regional average, while the small size of the market provides little incentive for new entrants.

Fixed-line teledensity is also low, but the fixed network has gained value since DSL services were launched in 2007. In parallel, ETL has rolled out a fixed-wireless network. In addition, the company has introduced a fixed-mobile convergence product based on its GSM network and capitalising on its multi-platform capabilities.

Vodacom was the first operator to introduce mobile broadband services in the country, supplemented with a WiMAX network. In late 2014 the company launched commercial services based on LTE technology.

Although landlocked, Lesotho has benefited from connectivity to the several submarine fibre optic cables which land on African east and west coasts. These have considerably improved international bandwidth, though access prices for the two ISPs remain high and as a consequence internet take-up among consumers has been stymied.

Key developments:

    • ETL expands FttP network;
    • Vodacom Foundation launches m-health service facilitated by M-Pesa;
    • Regulator considers imposing SIM card registration;
    • Improved internet connectivity following landing of international cables;
    • Regulator revokes BTL’s telecom licence;
    • Universal Service Agency expanding base tower infrastructure in remote areas;
    • Report update includes ITU statistics, regulator’s March 2017 ICT market report, operator data to Q3 2017, Telecom Maturity Index tables, charts and analyses, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Telecom Lesotho, Econet Ezi-Cel, Vodacom Lesotho, Eskom, Comnet.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Historical overview
    • 4.2 Fixed and mobile broadband
    • 4.3 TMI vs GDP
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Telecommunication Policy of 1999
    • 5.2 ICT policy 2005
    • 5.3 Communications Policy 2008
    • 5.4 National Master Plan
    • 5.5 Telecommunications Act of 2000
    • 5.6 Communications Act of 2012
    • 5.7 National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP)
    • 5.8 Regulatory authority
    • 5.9 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 5.10 Privatisation
    • 5.11 Licence fees
    • 5.12 SIM card registration
    • 5.13 Universal Service Fund (USF)
  • 6. Fixed network operator
    • 6.1 Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Satellite
      • 7.2.2 Terrestrial and submarine fibre
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 8.2 Broadband statistics
    • 8.3 Fixed-line broadband technologies
          • 8.3.1 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
          • 8.3.2 Other fixed broadband services
      • 9. Mobile market
        • 9.1 Market analysis
        • 9.2 Mobile statistics
        • 9.3 Mobile broadband
        • 9.4 Mobile infrastructure
          • 9.4.1 Digital networks
          • 9.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
        • 9.5 Major mobile operators
          • 9.5.1 Vodacom Lesotho
          • 9.5.2 ETL
        • 9.6 Mobile content and applications
          • 9.6.1 m-payment
          • 9.6.2 m-learning
      • 10. Related reports
      • Table 1 – Country statistics Lesotho – 2017 (e)
      • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2018
      • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (e)
      • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
      • Table 7 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 9 – International bandwidth – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 10 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 11 – Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 12 – Proportion of households with internet access in Lesotho – 2007 - 2017
      • Table 13 – Fixed-line internet and broadband subscribers – 2002 - 2018
      • Table 14 – DSL broadband subscribers – 2012- 2017
      • Table 15 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 16 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 17 – Active mobile broadband subscribers – 2010- 2018
      • Table 18 – Vodacom Lesotho subscribers and churn rate – 2002 - 2017
      • Table 19 – Vodacom Lesotho active data subscribers – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 20 – Vodacom Lesotho ARPU – 2011 - 2017
      • Table 21 – Vodacom Lesotho revenue – 2017 - 2018
      • Table 22 – ETL mobile subscribers – 2014 - 2016
      • Chart 1 – Africa Telecoms Maturity Index – Market Leaders (top tier)
      • Chart 2 – Southern Africa –Telecoms Maturity Index by country
      • Chart 3 – Southern Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration
      • Chart 4 – Southern Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates
      • Chart 5 – Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
      • Chart 6 – Southern Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
      • Chart 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lesotho – 2005 – 2018
      • Chart 8 – Internet users and penetration rate in Lesotho – 2005 – 2018
      • Chart 9 – Fixed-line internet and broadband subscribers – 2007 – 2018
      • Chart 10 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2018
      • Exhibit 1 – Map of Lesotho
      • Exhibit 2 – Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
      • Exhibit 3 – Southern Africa - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country