Somalia

ETC Activities

In the context of an ever-worsening drought in Somalia, the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Principals agreed on 11 August 2022 to activate the IASC humanitarian system-wide scale-up protocols for the next six months to urgently support drought response and famine interventions in the country.

An ETC Coordinator has been on the ground since 17 August 2022 to assess the needs to enhance and expand common ICT services in support of the scale-up.

The ETC was officially activated in Somalia on 18 September 2022 to support the set-up of inter-agency hubs in Dolow, Kismayo, and Baidoa.

ICT Profile

Country background
Country name
Somalia
Capital city
Mogadishu
Name of national disaster management agency

Somali Disaster Management Agency (SoDMA), Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management

Name of telecommunications ministry

Ministry of Communications and Technology

Name of telecommunications regulator

National Communications Authority

Population

15.89 million

Country narrative

Despite the instability that continues to affect the country, the telecoms market functions relatively well. Seven mobile network operators, several of which also offer fixed-line and internet services, provide coverage across the country.  Thanks to the competitive market, tariffs are among the lowest in Africa and tele-density (the local availability of telephone lines) is higher than in neighbouring countries. 
There are four major mobile phone operators providing services Somalia: Hormuud in South and Central Somalia; Golis in North East (Puntland); Telesom in Somaliland and Somtel countrywide. Data capacity is very good and 4G services are offered in Mogadishu plus major cities. Of Somalia’s 12 million citizens, about 90% has a mobile phone. There is an agreement between Hormuud, Golis and Telesom for national roaming, i.e. a user with a Hormuud SIM can use the mobile phone also in the areas where the two other providers are covering. 

There is no restriction in applying for a SIM card from any one of the mobile providers in Somalia. However limitations come with the selection of the type of the services the client prescribes. There are post-paid and pre-paid services. A pre-paid application is not difficult to obtain unlike post-paid.
In 2014, the country gained access to international submarine fibre optic cables, (including the Djibouti Africa Regional Express (DARE) and the Gulf to Africa (G2A) cable system. There are also fibre-optic broadband links connecting Somalia across the Kenyan border and linking to directly into Hormuud Telecom's network.
Nonetheless it the country’s telecoms infrastructure has suffered from a lack of investment and militant groups have occasionally forced the closure of internet services in parts of the country.
Some progress has been made on the lack of central government guidance in the sector with the passing of the National Communications Law in 2017, aimed at setting a legal and regulatory framework for the sector and establishing a National Communications Agency.
In terms of Security Communications Systems (SCS) for humanitarians, UNDSS has deployed an analogue VHF repeater network across Somalia.  UNSOS has deployed a comprehensive Tetra network in Somalia, which agencies can access at a cost. There are some locations where there is no VHF network available, only Tetra. SatPhones are a key component of the SCS in Somalia and are a mandatory communications tool for field missions.

Currency

Somali shilling (Sh.so)

Key ICT statistics
Fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants

1

Mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants

56

Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants

0.75

Mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants

2.5

3G coverage % of population

39%

Regulations and rules
Regolations/Rules
Type of regulation
Telecommunications
Description

 

The National Communications Act of 2017 established the National Communications Authority (NCA), Somalia's telecommunications regulator.  The NCA is responsible for facilitating the development of the ICT sector, enabling and ensuring fair and sustainable competition, carrier interconnection, transparency in the implementation of the Communication Law, protecting consumer interest and rights, and maintaining its role as an independent regulator. The NCA has developed a number of regulations to implement the Act, including the Numbering Regulation and Unified Licensing Framework.
Type of regulation
UAV
Description

 

The Somali Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), the Somali agency responsible for drone safety, has not codified drone use regulations in Somalia.  As drone operations are not regulated in Somalia, it is recommended to contact the SCAA regard drone usage and to follow the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommendations.
Type of regulation
Telecommunications
Description

 

The Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations came into force 8 January 2005, following the ratification by 30 countries. The Tampere Convention calls on States to facilitate the provision of prompt telecommunication assistance to mitigate the impact of a disaster, and covers both the installation and operation of reliable, flexible telecommunication services. Regulatory barriers that impede the use of telecommunication resources for disasters are waived. These barriers include the licensing requirements to use allocated frequencies, restrictions on the import of telecommunication equipment, as well as limitations on the movement of humanitarian teams.
Communications service providers
Mobile network operator (MNO)
Company name
Hormuud Telecom Somalia
GSMA HCC signatory
No
Parent company name (majority holding)
Hormuud Telecom Somalia Inc
Service description
GSM-900 (GPRS, EDGE), 2100 MHz UMTS, HSPA+, LTE
Coverage map (provide URL)
-https://www.gsma.com/coverage/#209
Mobile money service available
Yes
Fibre optic network
No
Voice and SMS services
Yes
3G/4G data services
Yes
Mobile network operator (MNO)
Company name
Golis Telecom Somalia
GSMA HCC signatory
No
Coverage map (provide URL)
-https://www.gsma.com/coverage/#1887
Mobile money service available
Yes
Fibre optic network
Yes
Voice and SMS services
Yes
3G/4G data services
Yes
Mobile network operator (MNO)
Company name
Telesom Company
GSMA HCC signatory
No
Parent company name (majority holding)
Telesom Group
Service description
GSM, 2100 MHz UMTS
Coverage map (provide URL)
-https://www.gsma.com/coverage/#508
Mobile money service available
Yes
Fibre optic network
No
Voice and SMS services
No
3G/4G data services
Yes
Mobile network operator (MNO)
Company name
Somtel Somalia
GSMA HCC signatory
No
Parent company name (majority holding)
Dahabshiil
Service description
GSM-900/1800 (GPRS, EDGE) 2100 MHz UMTS, HSDPA LTE
Coverage map (provide URL)
-https://www.gsma.com/coverage/#2031
Mobile money service available
No
Fibre optic network
No
Voice and SMS services
Yes
3G/4G data services
Yes
Internet service provider (ISP)
Company name
TS2 SPACE
Service description
Satellite & VSAT
Fibre optic network
No
Internet service provider (ISP)
Company name
Somcable Telecommunications
Service description
Business Internet
Fibre optic network
Yes
Internet service provider (ISP)
Company name
SpaceX
Service description
Satellite & VSAT
Fibre optic network
No
Internet service provider (ISP)
Company name
Sahal Telecom
Service description
Business Internet
Fibre optic network
Yes
Internet service provider (ISP)
Company name
Businesscom networks
Service description
Satellite & VSAT
Fibre optic network
No
Humanitarian telecommunications systems
Network type
VHF
Managed by
UNDSS
Network type
TETRA
Managed by
UNSOS