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Telecomunication development of somalia and its challenges

Telecomunication development of somalia and its challenges

After the fall down of Somalia government in 1991 many telecommunication companies which all of them are privately owned appeared and these private companies immediately start their operations with very limited and insufficient infrastructure however various operators was established and suddenly begin to compete basic telecom services both local and international.

In addition to that all of them offer local and international services to its intrinsic customers on its own network and the privatization in Somalia expands the scope of


Telephone coverage as you can see from the below map


And today telecommunication in Somalia covers the entire cities and towns in Somalia and surprisingly you can communicate your friends and families while you are cultivating your farm and in addition to that the telecommunication companies started to compete each other and each of them want to dominate the market this competition is beneficial for the customers in some ways because each companies offers lower prices.

On the other hand telecommunication in Somalia accelerate a whole new range of economic development at all as these telecommunication sector produce or bring technological advancement and steady progress and it goes without saying that the telecommunication sector in Somalia improves day by day and each companies expand its coverage area in Somalia and each companies installs a new development of technologies and these include (microwave, fiber optic and in recently a digital networks and they are also stated to implement new services and as well as thuraya and the telecom companies in Somalia recently agree to form Somali telecom association (STA)


In over all performance the Somali telecommunication sector become one of the best telecoms in Africa despite civil war and anarchy and it shows resistance on the other hand all these companies offers landline service and its very cheap as compared to the African continent as a whole and on the other hand the formation of Somali telecommunication association become a focal point to improve telecom development in Somalia and this organization is a self declared because it was established after the civil war in Somalia and it acts as self regulator so when we have got strong government this organization may be over or it may be nationalize to become a future telecommunication regulatory in Somalia .

One of the remarkable telecommunication development in Somalia is that “international calls cost 50 US cents a minute the cheapest rate on the African continent ’’ for the reason of this is that the telecommunication sector in Somalia did not pay tax because there is strong and effective government. On the other hand the mobile users in Somalia have mostly internet facilities and the users can use internet through their cell phones so this kind of facilities do not exist many countries in Africa when compared to Somalia however
“ In Somalia, 70 percent of the population live on less than US $2. Every single family has one mobile phone each, experts mention, adding that the competition to provide phone services caused a quick growth of mobile phone users in Somalia”.


On the other side , The telecommunication companies in Somalia is one of the backbone of economic development in Somalia and in recently these telecom companies have become among the country’s biggest revenue generators, and the service it provides has helped revive the economy. “They became the economic enablers in Somalia,” although most of the telecom companies those who operate in Somalia do not show their financial positions and mostly do not show their monthly or annually profit this may be due to confidential to its internal of the companies and although there is no central effective government and the telecom sector companies may fear extortion if they mention their monthly or annual profits.


In general the telecommunication sector in Somalia working in an dangerous environment and still they are making steady progress towards technological progress and adaptation of international standards in addition to that the telcomunication sector in Somalia is one of the best telecoms in Africa and still making a fastest growing in terms of coverage’s and technologies and the telecom companies making steady developments and this eliminates the idea that says there is no economic development if there is no sustainable stability in that country.

The communication companies in Somalia will attract more investors who can invest in various portions such as mobile phones and electronics companies. That’s When international investors come in it will generate more revenue to the Somali government as well as tax collection and the telecommunication companies also play an important role in the formation of employment opportunity. Thus the telecommunication sector will greatly boost the economy of the country and at the same time expose it to the world.

despite the progress made by this sector there was challenges facing the telecommunication sectors in Somalia and these challenges are mainly

  • A completely unregulated market and lack of restrictions and regulation made possible by the lack of a functioning central government so in the light of this the government and the concerned parts should develop regulatory market and in some cases restrictions to control the telecommunication sector
  • companies were not sharing lines or using the same infrastructure this due to lack of trust among the telecommunication sectors besides that there is no sharing interconnectivity among some of telecommunication that’s if you have for example somafone you can’t call hormuud, Nationlink, and telecom because lack of network sharing and this somehow will lead to oligopoly to the competitive market.
  • absence of Somali telecommunication regulators This challenge of network sharing and interconnectivity problem can’t be solve easily because all the telecommunication sectors in Somalia are privately owned companies and there is no public telecommunication in addition to that there is no Somali telecommunication authority that can impose rules and regulation to this sector and security is also a big problem because sometimes the telecommunication sectors in Somali face extortion from armed group and the current government of Somalia should develop an strategy to create telecommunication regulation across the country and as well as the government must take over all the domains and telecommunication sectors in Somalia for national security purpose and that’s there must be one main Somali telecommunication sectors which controls by the government and if anyone want to establish a telecom company in Somalia can come the market easily and at the same time the interconnectivity problem will automatically eliminated. interconnectivity problem is not take place only in one parts of Somalia it’s a wide scope problem from south to central , north east and north west Somalia this reaches so that Local telephone calls within an area are free of charge if they belong to the same company.


Besides that there is no agreement or direct interconnection between telecommunication operators and in addition to that each telecommunication companies in Somalia has its own physical infrastructure on the other hand surprisingly if you want to call other company with in the same region or area are considered as international calls and at the same time the Telephone calls between different areas within Somalia are charged between 0.5 to 0.8 US dollar per minute which is too expensive and there is no differentiation between local and international calls that’s All calls are charged one US$ per minute.


  • absence of unified agenda towards telecom sector, so that all privately owned companies should form association and agree principles that will allow free market competition without network sharing difficulties.
  • There was a kind of oligopoly market in telecommunication sector in Somalia and that’s few companies dominate the market and it’s very difficult new companies to enter the market due to network sharing obstacles.
  • Lack of social responsibilities, so most of the telecom operating companies do not full fill social responsibilities and the only thing that these companies do is to maximize their profits.
  • lack of skilled and experienced employees ,that’s in some companies do not have well experienced and skilled people because of low wages and other reasons.
  • no interconnections
  • there is no license of frequency spectrum, the solution towards this problem is that every company has to assign its own frequency spectrum that makes more interference
  • local rate call are different from each company that’s if you recharge one dollar you will 45 minutes in Hormuud for example while if you recharge one dollar of nation link you will get 55 minutes to talk so this problem of different call rates is due to lack of government control to the telecommunication sectors in Somalia
  • there is no backup link between two exchanges therefore the availability of telecom sector is unreliable


Somalia is a country which its self struggling to become stable and in recently elected a new president with a new constitution so the new government will establish sustainable policy toward the development of telecommunication sector in Somalia and Somalia is in the stage of pushing towards economic development and as well as social change. And political instability begins to diminish and Somali Diaspora begin to return to their home country to start business and invest some telecommunication sector So in conclusion the government of somalia must develop a strategic policy to monitor and control how the telecomunications operate thus it’s also important to develop a Regulatory Framework for the Telecommunication industry for Somalia , in addition to that The companies should really come together and understand that sharing networks or infrastructure is for their interest because then they can spend less money on maintenance, however the government must establish regulatory committee to monitor telecommunicationcompanies across the country .

By Isaaq Abdi Abdulahi
completed MA in (ECONOMCS ) at universtiy of karachi and MPHIL in management science at the institute of business and technology, karachi, in pakistan

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