Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Business of Tech

Six Somali operators activate interconnection

Article Image
Six licensed telecom operators in Somalia have completed interconnection in the country, marking a significant milestone for the East African nation's telecom industry. Interconnection is the linking of telecommunications networks so that customers of one network can communicate with customers of another network.

The country's National Communications Authority (NCA) made the announcement saying the interconnection will enable seamless connectivity between the operators and provide millions of customers with more options and competitive pricing.

The original interconnection agreement was signed in December 2022, and came into force on January 10, 2023. Since then operators have been implementing the interconnection process. The NCA said at that time that the operators involved were Hormuud Telecom, Somtel, Amtel, SomLink, Golis Telecommunications and Telesom.

The official launch event in capital Mogadishu this week highlighted the importance of interconnection in promoting competition, improving connectivity and driving innovation in the industry.

The NCA said the interconnection will allow for the exchange of voice traffic between the six operators, enhancing the quality of service for customers and expanding the network coverage. It will also promote healthy competition among the operators, leading to better pricing and service offerings for consumers.

"The successful interconnection among the six operators is a significant achievement for the telecom industry in Somalia. Therefore, this will promote competition, reduce prices, and provide more options for customers. We applaud the operators' efforts in completing this important milestone and encourage them to continue collaborating to benefit the industry and consumers," said NCA General Manager Mustafa Yasin.

Yasin highlighted that previous interconnection agreements had failed – in 2000 and 2014 – mainly because of a lack of regulatory framework.

"We hope this time round it will be successful because we have the tools, such as a communications law that mandates interconnection, regulations, guidelines, and regulatory authority that has the oversight mandate," he added, thanking the World Bank and IFC for technical support.

The NCA believes interconnection will promote healthy competition among the operators, leading to better pricing and service offerings for consumers.  (Source: Image by wirestock on Freepik)
The NCA believes interconnection will promote healthy competition among the operators, leading to better pricing and service offerings for consumers.
(Source: Image by wirestock on Freepik)

"The successful interconnection among the six operators is a crucial step towards promoting connectivity and innovation in the telecom industry. We encourage the operators to continue working together to provide the best possible services for our citizens and contribute to the growth of the country's economy," added Somalia's Minister of Communications and Technology, Jama Khalif.

Somali Prime Minister, Hamza Barre, also attended the launch ceremony and reiterated that the successful interconnection was a significant milestone in the nation's efforts to enhance connectivity and promote competition in the telecom sector. He encouraged operators to continue collaborating for the benefit of citizens.

Somali telecoms sector

Somalia is a unique market in Africa, with a much less mature telecom industry than other countries.

In November 2022, the NCA issued the country's first spectrum license to Hormuud Telecom. Up until that point the country's mobile operators had been using spectrum for many years to run their networks with no formal licensing regime.

According to statistics from DataReportal's 2023 digital report on Somalia Internet penetration in the country was just 9.8% at the start of 2023, with about 16.1 million people in Somalia not using the Internet yet.

Data from GSMA Intelligence shows, however, that there were 7.99 million cellular mobile connections in Somalia at the start of 2023, equivalent to about 44.7% of the total population.

The researchers, however, did note that many people make use of more than one mobile connection – for example, they might have one connection for personal use, and another one for work – so it's not unusual for mobile connection figures to significantly exceed figures for total population.

The number of mobile connections in Somalia increased by 5.4% between 2022 and 2023.

According to statistics from market research company Omdia, Somalia has nine mobile operators, but only six signed the interconnection agreement.

Omdia ranks Hormuud Telecom as the country's biggest operator with almost 40% market share at the end of 2022. The second biggest is Nationlink Somalia with 16% market share followed by Telcom with 14% market share. The remaining six operators each have market shares of between 9% and under 1%.

Omdia stats show that by the end of 2022 over 93% of mobile traffic in Somalia was still on 2G, with 6.9% on 3G and under 0.06% on 4G.

The Central Bank of Somalia also issued the country's first mobile money license to Hormuud Telecom in March 2021.

DataReportal said that 37.1% of people in Somalia, aged 15 and over, had a mobile money account in early 2023, and 35.1% made a digital payment in the last year, while just 2.4% had a debit card.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Image by ArtPhoto_studio on Freepik.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Orange Ventures, Digital Africa promise more funding for startups

Orange Ventures and Digital Africa are teaming up to invest more in tech startups in Africa and the Middle East through Digital Africa's Fuz program and the Orange Digital Center network.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Rwanda's Ampersand

Connecting Africa's hot startup this month is Rwanda's Ampersand, which designs, builds, and manufactures electric motorcycles and battery packs for motorcycle taxis.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: April 2024

By Omdia Analysts

April 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included a license for Starlink in Ghana, new mobile termination rates in Ethiopia, and 6G trials in Bahrain – that and more in the latest Omdia View.

Story

Leveraging agritech to build resilience against climate change

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook discusses agritech in Africa and how the agricultural sector is using technology to build resilience against the negative effects of climate change and to ensure food security.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002