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Low Internet penetration despite 90% 3G Coverage in Lesotho

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Policy brief

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- Challenges
- Trends

- Internet Access, Affordability And Use

Author(s): ResearchICTAfrica

Trends: Despite 90% 3G coverage, 70% of Lesotho residents do not use the Internet. Challenges: In the Internet using population, 86% use smartphones for access, but the cost of devices prevents others coming online. The telecommunications market is highly concentrated, with Vodacom Lesotho dominating around 80% of the mobile market and Econet Liquid dominating various segments of the fixed market. Lesotho has the lowest broadband penetration despite extensive 3G and some 4G coverage. About 70% of Lesotho resident have never used the Internet. Solutions: The low level of Internet use is attributed to high mobile telecommunication services and products. The high prices in Lesotho are an outcome of lack of competition in the market. Using the universal access fund to deploy free public wi-fi at all public buildings and other strategies that demand aggregation and utilise the availability of mobile devices in the market will ameliorate digital inequality in Lesotho. Creating an enabling environment for fair competition will require regulating wholesale transmission and facilities so that Internet service and access providers can compete effectively in the market and innovate to meet local domestic and business needs.


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