Telecommunications in Swaziland
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Telephones - main lines in use: 44,000 (2009), 38,500 (2001), 20,000 (1996)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 732,700 (2009), 250,000 (2007), 0 (1996)
general assessment: a somewhat modern but not an advanced system
domestic: single source for mobile-cellular service with a geographic coverage of about 90% and a rising subscribership base; combined fixed-line and mobile cellular teledensity roughly 60 telephones per 100 persons in 2010; telephone system consists of carrier-equipped, open-wire lines and low-capacity, microwave radio relay
international: country code - 268; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2009)
Broadcast media: state-owned TV station; satellite dishes are able to access South African providers; state-owned radio network with 3 channels; 1 private radio station (2007)
Internet country code: .sz
Internet hosts: 2,706 (2010)
Internet users: 90,100 (2009)
Radios: 155,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 5 plus 7 relay stations (2001), 2 (plus seven repeaters) (1997)
Televisions: 21,000 (1997)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 5 (2002), 2 (1999)
Country code (Top level domain): SZ
Swaziland may be one of the last countries in the world with an almost complete monopoly of its telecommunications market. The state-owned posts and telecommunications operator, SPTC also acts as the industry regulator and gains in the country’s sole mobile network, in partnership with South Africa’s MTN. The planned unbundling and eventual privatization of the incumbent and the introduction of more competition would enable the market to live up to its relative GDP strength.
Despite the lack of competition, mobile market penetration equals more than 60% is well above the African average. More than 90% of all telephones in the country are mobile phones. Swazi MTN has entered the Internet sector with basic mobile data services in an attempt to generate additional revenues in an environment of rapidly declining average revenue per user, and the company is preparing for the introduction of third generation mobile broadband services.
The Internet sector is open to competition with limited licensed ISPs, prices have remained high and market penetration relatively low. Broadband services are still very limited and expensive. Development of the sector has been hampered by the limited fixed-line infrastructure and a lack of competition in the access and backbone network, although the country has a relatively well-developed fibre optic backbone.However, being landlocked, Swaziland depends on neighboring countries for international fibre bandwidth which has led to high prices. Improvements can be expected when several new submarine fibre optic cables reach the region in 2010 and 2011.