Somaliland government is putting in place regulations on technical connectivity between telecommunication companies.
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The Minister of Communications and Technology Abdiwali Sheikh Sufi said in Hargeisa that while there have been some hurdles to implement this, the government has set a target that it must be enforced by next year.
“It was tried twice and both times, it failed. “The Telecommunications Code of Conduct 50 of 2011 stipulates that networks must talk to each other,” said Abdiwali.
“We have now developed a networking telecommunications companies’ regulator. We have been working with companies on technical connectivity and they do not have a choice. We are looking forward to its implementation next year,” he stated.
There have been efforts since 2010 by the government to regulate interconnection between these two telecommunication providers with no success. Currently, customers of these two providers cannot make direct calls to each other or make mobile money transactions.
By Odindo Ayiekho
About Telecommunications in Somaliland
Telecommunications in Somaliland, are mainly concentrated in the private sector. A number of local telecommunications firms operate in the country, including SomCable, Somtel, and Telesom.
In 2010, SomCable Ltd announced that it was contracted to pull submarine cables from Djibouti port to Berbera. SomCable invested over $100 million USD to complete the project which employed more than 10,000 local workers. Funding for the project came from local businessman Mohamed Said MSG. The project will ensure that high-speed wireless technology capable of delivering sufficient scalable bandwidth to residents of Somaliland is available at the site. The initiative is completed in September 2014. Somaliland is currently the only Fiber operator in the country. As of October 2014, SomCable Launched the first LTE solution in Somaliland, the first GEPON/ FTTP solution in Somaliland.
In 2008, Dahabshiil acquired a majority stake in Somtel, a Somaliland-based telecommunications firm specializing in Slow [Somtel], mobile Internet, and mobile phone services. The acquisition provided Dahabshiil with the necessary platform for a subsequent expansion into mobile banking, a growth industry in the regional banking sector.
Telesom was established in 2001 to provide telecommunications services in the region. Telesom currently controls 88% of Somaliland scribers, with the remaining 18% shared between the remaining operators. The firm provides a variety of mobile communication products and services including prepaid call plans, monthly subscription plans, international roaming, SMS, WAP (over both GSM and GPRS), residential fixed line services, internet access as well as prepaid and postpaid G subscription services.
On 13 June 2011, the House of Elders passed the law, without any amendments, on an overwhelming majority of 75 for, 1 against, and none abstaining. On 5 July 2011, the President signed the law which is now in force. The bill was passed following consultations between government representatives and communications, academic, and civil society stakeholders. According to the Ministry of Information, Posts and Telecommunications, the Act is expected to create an environment conducive to investment and the certainty it provides will encourage further infrastructural development, resulting in more efficient service delivery.
Satellite technology is playing an instrumental role in Somaliland. Based on 2002 prices, a VSAT-based asymmetrical 128/64 connection in any given location in Somaliland costs $0.058 per minute. This assumes the connection is used 24 hours per day; seven days per week. The connection, and the associated costs, may be shared by several PCs to lower the “per minute charge” per PC. One tele-center exampled in Somaliland showed the rate per PC to be $0.005 per minute.
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