Botswana telecommunications limp a decade after policy changes

Policy Brief 1, 2017: Tanzania

The Botswana telecommunications market is composed of four main operators. Three of these operators, BTC, Mascom, and Orange, operate with PTO licences. The fourth entrant, BoFiNet, provides wholesale services. While the PTO licence allows the three operators to provide converged services, Mascom and Orange continue to offer mobile telephony services, which include mobile internet and value-added services. BTC provides fixed telephony services and offers mobile services through its sister company “beMobile”. Even though the market continues to develop innovative broadband, competition in the market has remained dull. Competitors do not aggressively seek to increase their market shares and revenue, hence, first-mover Mascom, continues to dominate the market. Between 2014 and 2016, Mascom owned close to 55% of the market, while Orange owned around 28% and beMOBILE 17% on average.


1. Botswana’s mobile operators have become comfortable in their respective market segments at the cost of competition.

2. At 59% internet penetration, Botswana’s people do not access the internet as much as regional counterparts due to high mobile broadband costs — ranked 11 out of 15 SADC countries.

3. The national ICT policies focussed on supply side issues in the wholesale market to little avail.

4. There needs to be a comprehensive ICT sector review undertaken to assess the performance of market actors.

5. A national broadband policy is further required to enhance the sectoral benefits and knock-ons effects of trends in the ICT sector and their adoption by end-users

Suggested citation

Mothobi, O. (2017). Botswana telecommunications limp a decade after policy changes (Policy Brief No. 1). Research ICT Africa.