Telecommunications in Somaliland
Telecommunications in Somaliland, an autonomous region in northwestern Somalia, are mainly concentrated in the private sector. A number of local telecommunications firms operate in the region, including Telesom, Telcom, NationLink Telecom, Somtel, SomCable and Golis Telecom Somalia.
Telesom was established in 2001.1 It has since become the leading provider of telecommunications services in the region. Telesom currently controls 90% of Somaliland's mobile subscribers, with the remaining 10% shared between the remaining operators. The firm provides a variety of mobile communication products and services including prepaid call plans, monthly subscription plans, international roaming, MMS, WAP (over both GSM and GPRS), residential fixed line services, broadband internet access as well as prepaid and postpaid 3G subscription services.citation needed
In 2010, Somaliland Cable (SomCable) Ltd announced that it was contracted to pull submarine cable from Djibouti port to Berbera. SomCable declared it would invest $35 million USD to complete the project which employed more than 10,000 locals workers. Funding for the project came from local businessman Mohamed Said MSG.citation needed The project will ensure that high speed wireless technology capable of delivering sufficient scalable bandwidth to residents of Somaliland is available at the site. The initiative is expected to be completed by the end of March 2014.
In 2008, Dahabshiil acquired a majority stake in Somtel, a Somaliland-based telecommunications firm specialising in high speed broadband, mobile Internet, and mobile phone services.23 The acquisition provided Dahabshiil with the necessary platform for a subsequent expansion into mobile banking, a growth industry in the regional banking sector.45
Bosaso is home to Golis Telecom Somalia, the largest telecommunications operator in northeastern Somalia. Founded in 2002 with the objective of supplying the country with GSM mobile services, fixed line and internet services, it has an extensive network that covers all of the nation's major cities and more than 40 districts in both Somaliland both Puntland.6 According to The Economist, Golis offers one of the cheapest international calling rates on the planet, at $0.2 USD less than anywhere else in the world.7
Competition generated by SomCable's submarine cable project has driven down the cost of consumer international mobile calls to $0.30 USD per minute or less. The project was completed with the support and full cooperation of the Somaliland Telecommunication Operators Association.
On March 22, 2012, the Somali federal cabinet unanimously approved the National Communications Act, which paves the way for the establishment of a National Communications regulator in the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors. The bill was passed following consultations between government representatives and communications, academic and civil society stakeholders. According to the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, the Act is expected to create an environment conducive to investment and the certainty it provides will encourage further infrastructural development, resulting in more efficient service delivery.8
Satellite technology is playing an instrumental role in Somaliland. Based on 2002 prices, a VSAT-based asymmetrical 128/64 connection in any given location in Somaliland costs $0.058 per minute. This assumes the connection is used 24 hours per day; seven days per week. The connection, and the associated costs, may be shared by several PCs to lower the “per minute charge” per PC.citation needed One tele-centre exampled in Somaliland showed the rate per PC to be $0.005 per minute.citation needed
- About us. telesom.net, 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2013. Archived here
- International Association of Money Transfer Networks
- Yahoo! Finance
- Monty Munford "Guest Post: Could Tiny Somaliland Become the First Cashless Society?", TechCrunch.com (5 September 2010).
- "Golis Telecom Somalia Profile". Golis Telecom website. Archived from the original on October 22, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-17.
- "Somalia calling; Mobile phones.(Golis Telecom Somalia)". Economist. 2005-12-20. Retrieved 2005-12-20.
- "Somali government to establish communications regulatory commission". Sabahi. 23 March 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.