Somalia’s Hormuud Telecom has pledged to ensure full 4G coverage across Somalia by 2023.
If successful, Hormuud would achieve the coverage milestone ahead of the 2024-2025 target announced by the government.
According to Hormuud’s own figures, more than 70% of Somalis – around 11.25 million people – have access to 4G, however the remaining 30% are largely based in rural areas. Across Hormuud’s customer base, 30% of its 3.6 million customers still rely on the 2G network.
CEO Ahmed Mohamud Yuusuf (pictured) said: “We’re delighted to today announce Hormuud’s ambition to bring broadband speed, 4G data, to every Somali citizen over the next two years. We are proud to have long played a leading role in bringing Somalis online. Increasing access to 4G internet is critical to ensuring Somalia achieves its goal of becoming a cashless economy.”
Under its National ICT Policy, the government of Somalia has pledged to reach total 4G coverage by 2024-2025. Demand is already growing – the average Hormuud data user consumes 5GB of data monthly, up from a national average of around 1-2GB a year ago – with mobile money driving a large share of the demand.
Hormuud reported that with two-thirds of all payments in Somalia are made on mobile money platforms.
In February, the Central bank of Somalia issued the country’s first mobile money licence to Hormuud Telecom, meaning that Hormuud’s mobile money platform EVC Plus would be formally regulated and licensed by the Central Bank of Somalia.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak, mobile money penetration in Somali urban centres stood at over 80%. Even in rural Somalia, mobile money penetration rates stood at around 55%. A World Bank report published in 2018 found that almost three-quarters of the Somali population aged 16 and older use mobile money. By comparison, in Nigeria, the continent’s largest economy, only 39.7% of adults had mobile money accounts in 2018.
Yuusuf, added: “Access to high-speed data is now a human right. It’s a foundational requirement to developing nations in order to provide vital services such as aid and international remittances, as well as underpinning day-to-day business activity.”
Abdi Sheikh Ahmed, Somali Minister for Post, Telecom and Technology, said: “It’s encouraging to see telecom operators in Somalia taking leadership roles to fulfil the guidelines of the National ICT Policy. The continued 4G expansion shows that the country is on track to meet its network expansion targets, providing the essential services our citizens need.”