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Somalia's Unregulated Telecoms Market Looks to be Reined-In

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

Somalia could make its first attempt at regulating the mobile telecoms networks since the government of Siyad Barre was overthrown in 1991.

The industry has been in a totally unregulated state ever since a number of private networks were set up, and despite the lack of regulation, flourished.

Speaking to Hiiraan Online the ICT Minister Abdullahi Elmoge commended the mobile networks in Somalia for the tremendous efforts they made in the years of the civil war.

"They made a remarkable efforts to expand the country's telecommunications but lack of regulatory laws led to the misuse of our spectrum" said the Minister.

"Our aim is not to interfere the telecommunications companies but is to put in place regulatory laws that can upheld the interests of customers and suppliers" Elmoge added.

Telecoms has been one of the Somali economy's major growth areas since the collapse of central government in 1991, with many companies emerging to fill the void left by the single state-owned provider that had previously served the market. Thanks to a combination of strong demand and light regulation the new operators thrived. Stiff competition between them has resulted in telecoms services that are among the cheapest and most reliable in the region.

One area where regulatory pressure is widely expected to have an immediate effect is improving the interconnection between the networks. Although moves have been made to improve that in recent months, it is still not uncommon for a person to carry several SIM cards and swap between them to make calls.

Implementing the regulations may prove difficult though, as the government still has not secured control of the entire country, leaving some areas ungoverned.

On the web: Hiiraan Online

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Tags: Somalia