Somalia is currently in the midst of a telecommunications boom driven by private investors, who have created a mass market with the cheapest calling rates in Africa. Private investors have put an estimated $194 million into Somalia’s telecommunications sector over the last ten years.
The telephone companies that provide much of the service across the war-torn country include
- Golis Telecom Somalia,
- NationLink Telecom,
- Somali Telecom Group,
- Global Internet Company,
- Telcom Puntland and
- Telenet International
The telecommunications systems are also improving banking ability for many Somalis. Although Somalia’s population routed much of their investment money through the famous money remittance systems (Hawala), the introduction of competition in mobile communications and internet service provision brought the most dramatic changes in the sector. A new mobile money transfer service was unveiled by Somalia’s biggest mobile service provider with the help of Kenya’s Safaricom, which pioneered the system of transferring money by mobile phone in East Africa.
Hormuud Telecom, the biggest network in Somalia with more than a million subscribers, designed a money transfer service for its registered customers much as Safaricom has.
The telecommunication operation in Somalia is operated by unregulated private operators which developed out of necessity to fill the vacuum left when the former government operated Post and Telecommunication ministry which was completely destroyed. For instance, there are over dozen
There is growing need in Somalia for a policy and regulatory framework providing for the establishment of a regulatory body that is managerially and financially independent from the Somali telecom operators in the telecommunications sector.
The connections are mainly done via Dial-Up, but GPRS, ADSL and LRE (Long range Ethernet exist). Wireless and Satellite services also exist in Somalia. Most of the companies are additionally beginning to provide VOIP services.
Almost the entire infrastructure in Somalia is in need of rehabilitation (particularly electricity and roads) which can impede growth of the ICT sector.
The ministry oversees the ICT and Telecom sector in Somalia, it exists to facilitate a two-way free flow of timely and reliable information and feedback between the Government, its various departments and the public. Focusing on the co-ordination of policies to monitor and evaluate the implementation of government programs and activities.
Somali ICT Development Association (SICTDA) is a non-governmental, non-profit association that represents a number of companies and organizations that are involved in ICT business and development.
SICTDA aims at making Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and its education accessible to all Somalis and generally promoting ICT application in all aspects of life to accelerate development.
ICT and Telecom sector has been summarised to include the following