Mobile operator activity in Somalia looks promising
July 2012 update: Dahabshiil denies Telcom Somalia takeover speculations.
Last week, Dahabshiil Group, a leading remittance company in East Africa, reportedly purchased a majority stake in Telcom Somalia. Six main mobile operators are currently active in Somalia, with Telcom Somalia being the oldest operator (founded in 1994) and the operator with largest market share (34%). Dozens of smaller Internet operators and private carriers also exist.
Word is that Telcom Somalia laid-off a good portion of its staff to increase efficiency and perhaps re-brand. At the same time, TS launched a new mobile banking system and gave free calls across Somalia for a week. After all, competition is as fierce as ever, with Telcom Somalia competing with Telesom, Hormuud Telecom, and Golis Telecom.
From an Internet perspective, the company will have access to the EASSy fibre cable, along with SomTel and Telesom. As Somaliland Press reports, SomCable Ltd plans to sell up to 1 Gbps to select ISPs who will then resell access to consumers.
The move comes as Somalis is expected to have over 6 million mobile subscribers by 2015 amid growing political stability in the region (Somalia, Somaliland, Puntland).
They [the telecoms operators] became the economic enablers in Somalia” – Svet Tintchev, a World Bank expert on the telecom industry in developing countries
For more information on Somalia’s burgeoning telecoms industry, read a Wall Street Journal article from May 2010.