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The unbanked millions of Pula

  • Mobile money offers mobile operators a big bite
  • Orange tops, beMobile prepares to compete  

As beMobile’s market share continues to grow steadily, the mobile company is also flexing its muscles to compete in other income generating segments like the Mobile money.

A report by Stockbrokers Botswana says Mobile money services show immense potential, with the segment among the prime drivers of financial inclusion as they make financial services accessible to the unbanked market. According to the report, as at March 2015, the sector had 412, 126 active mobile money accounts, generating revenues of BWP 206 million for the year.

With this potential, the report suggests that penetrating the Mobile money is the next big fight among mobile telephony companies. Currently Orange has 65% market share for mobile money services, Mascom 34%, and beMobile 1% market share. But beMobile is splashing over P110 million recently to boost its brand.

Following the listing of the parent company, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL), it emerged that losses attributable to BWP522 million impairment charges of Property, Plant and Equipment were a result of technological changes on a global scale. beMobile is said to be pushing its technological acquisitions to up its game.

The Stockbrokers report further says the mobile telephony sector has seen substantial growth of subscriptions, from 823 070 in 2006 to 3 405 887 in 2015, representing a 10 year CAGR of 15.3%. Mascom has the largest share in the mobile telephony sector, with an estimated 55%, followed by Orange with an estimated 28%.

“beMobile, with an estimated 17% market share, has been growing steadily since its launch in April 2008, and had a subscriber base of 507 321 as at January 2016. BTCL expects to spend about BWP110 million developing its beMobile arm during the year. This will be done on the backdrop of 1% Universal Access Service levy on all identified mobile operators to raise funds towards the Universal Access and Service Fund,” reads part of the report.

Much of beMobile’s growth, which has seen it capture a meaningful share of Botswana’s mobile market is attributable to its low tariff rates and wider network coverage of the three service providers.

The market share between prepaid and post-paid telephony subscriptions is 98% and 2% respectively. Although prepaid calls are more expensive than post-paid calls, prepaid is a service of choice as it allows customers control over their spending through pre-payment of small denominations airtime units.

The Stockbrokers report indicates that Mobile penetration, measured by teledensity, was estimated at 168% in March 2014 (March 2014: 158%), higher than the Sub Saharan Africa’s average mobile penetration of 82.1%. It is estimated that the mobile telephony networks cover at least 95% of the population with varying network capabilities of 2.5G, 3G and 4G.

“Mobile broadband technologies such as 3G and 4G are mostly available in urban areas while in rural areas subscribers access the internet through other technologies such as 2G and Enhanced Data for Global Evolution (EDGE) that are widely deployed throughout the country. Currently, 3G as a percentage of mobile market is estimated at 12.5%; while the newer technology, 4G, or LTE, has already been rolled out by Mascom and Orange. The 4G technology requires 4G ready handsets, which are quite costly, BTCL rolled out the 4G to its customer base in September 2015.”

However the stockbrokers report shares that the slowing annual growth rates of mobile subscriptions suggest increasing saturation in Botswana’s mobile market, while the relatively high penetration rates are likely to be driven by unique form of competition where consumers possess multiple Sim cards belonging to different service providers.

“The multiple SIM cards phenomenon allows subscribers to take advantage of product and price offerings across networks. This practice also ensures that consumers have access to other networks in areas of the country where some networks are not available.”
Internet services

There is no doubt that the use of mobile technology has surpassed fixed technology due to its convenience, with mobile internet penetration at 59% and fixed internet penetration at 5%. It is expected as captured by the Stockbrokers report that Mascom (78%), Orange (53%) and beMobile (39%) are fighting for this segment.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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