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Somtel launches 5G in Somalia

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Somali mobile operator Somtel has launched its fifth-generation (5G) network in the East African country.

At the recent launch, the operator's parent company, Dahabshiil Group, said the achievement marks a significant leap forward for the region's tech ecosystem.

The company previously brought 4G LTE to the region and introduced modernized networks with voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and eSIM technology.

"We are incredibly proud our Somtel colleagues have launched a 5G network," said Dahabshiil Group CEO Abdirashid Duale.

The CEO added that 5G will be instrumental in driving speedy ICT solutions for economic growth and enriching the digital lives of all Somalis.

"The rapid connections enabled by 5G will unlock a world of possibilities and empower us to harness the benefits of emerging technologies," Duale continued.

Somalia's mobile ecosystem

According to statistics from market research company Omdia, Somalia has nine mobile operators.

It will be interesting to see how Somtel – which is the fifth largest telco with only 7.4% market share at the end of September 2023 – will benefit from on its 5G launch.

Somtel's parent company Dahabshiil Group said the 5G launch marks a significant leap forward for the region's tech ecosystem.   (Source: Image by Freepik.)
Somtel's parent company Dahabshiil Group said the 5G launch marks a significant leap forward for the region's tech ecosystem.
(Source: Image by Freepik.)

Omdia ranks Hormuud Telecom as the country's biggest operator, with over 39% market share in the third quarter of 2023. The second biggest is Nationlink Somalia with 16.5% market share, followed by Telcom with almost 14% market share.

The third largest is Telsom Mobile with close to 10% market share over the same period. The remaining four operators each have market shares of between 7% and under 1%.

Africa's 5G progression

Somalia follows several African countries that have launched 5G services.

5G news is becoming commonplace in Africa and recently the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) awarded 5G licenses to three operators, while Orange announced that it was testing 5G in Sierra Leone.

Furthermore, Orange announced its plans to launch 5G services in most of its African operations by the end of 2024.

In September 2023, Ethiopian state-owned telecom operator Ethio Telecom launched its commercial 5G services.

The Ethio Telecom launch came on the back of Emtel becoming the second telco to launch 5G services in the island nation of Mauritius in August 2023.

Follow Connecting Africa on our new X account @connect__africa to get the latest telecoms and tech news across Africa.

That launch followed launches by MTN and Airtel in Uganda and Airtel in Zambia in August 2023.

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