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Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa.
The telecommunications market is characterised by four main players out of which three operate under PTO licences. These are Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL); Mascom Wireless Botswana (Pty) Ltd (Mascom) and Orange Botswana (Pty) Ltd (Orange). The fourth player is the Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) which provides wholesale services.
Notwithstanding that the PTO licence allows all operators to offer both mobile and fixed telephony products and services, Mascom and Orange continue to offer mobile telephony services only including mobile internet and value-add services. BTCL is the only PTO that offers both fixed and mobile telephony services including data network services in addition to providing wholesale access and connectivity services.
Internet access through the use of smartphones and other wireless technologies has led to increased number of people with access to the internet, especially among the youth or digital native population. In addition, PTOs continue to increase coverage of mobile broadband leading to increased access to mobile broadband services. Mobile broadband technologies such as 3G and 4G are mostly available in urban areas while in rural areas subscribers access the internet through other technologies such as 2G and Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE) that are widely deployed throughout the country.
During the period under review, mobile Internet penetration increased from 1,188,640 in March 2015 to 1,360,236 in March 2016. This implies that there was a 14.4% increase. The use of mobile technology surpassed the fixed technology due to its convenience, although its more expensive compared to fixed technology. Mobile-broadband has grown significantly since the launch of 3G in 2009, according to latest ITU data (June 2017) mobile coverage reaching 84% of the population, and 4G LTE accessible by 64% of Botswana citizens.
Botswana is a member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and as such follows radio frequency harmonisation principles according to ITU-R Region-1. The regulatory body governing communications policy is the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) is charged with regulating the country's radio frequency spectrum activities such as planning, allocations, and licencing.