Somalia hopes to end telecoms sector anarchy

17 Jan 2011

The Somali government plans to start regulating the country’s thriving telecommunications sector to boost growth and encourage investment, Bloomberg reports, citing Somalia’s Information, Posts and Telecommunications Minister Abdulkareem Jama. The government has drafted rules for managing cellular frequencies, phone numbers and interconnection agreements, according to Jama, who also revealed that the country’s Finance Ministry is finalising details of a tax to be introduced to the industry. ‘Rates are cheap and service is available everywhere,’ he noted. ‘This is a success story. The intention of the government is to encourage this investment and do everything possible to allow this to grow faster.’ Without giving a timeline, Jama said that both proposals will need to undergo examination by lawmakers before going into force.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Somalia’s wireless market is completely unregulated, enabling firms such as Hormuud Telecom (HorTel) and Nationlink to freely install and operate their own networks as they choose. Before 1991 the country’s communications networks were under government control, but following the onset of the civil war, the entire telecoms infrastructure was all but destroyed. New infrastructure has since sprung up, installed by a number of small local operators protected by militias, offering mobile and fixed telephony services, including local, long-distance and international calls.