Weekly digest for 27 Aug 2021


This week’s main story is from Botswana where the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) has found BTC guilty of predatory pricing. The BOCRA finding is interesting because predatory pricing is often hard to prove and there are few instances, in Africa, of telecom operators being found guilty. BOCRA’s finding will also have a broader impact on competition within Botswana and allow ISPs to offer higher quality services at more competitive prices. In this case, local ISP Inq.Digital complained to BOCRA that BTC was offering retail VDSL services at a lower cost than the wholesale rate provided to ISPs. There were two components to Inq.Digital’s complaint: 1) BTC doesn’t offer VDSL wholesale services but only ADSL, which is of a lower quality than VDSL, and 2) the higher quality VDSL product was priced below cost for BTL’s retail customers. BOCRA found that Inq.Digital’s complaint was correct and ordered BTC to fix the issue within 30 days or face penalties.

  • Malawi: The telecom regulator, MACRA, has released a strategy to connect over 720, 000 Malawians to broadband, 1,300 institutions to Wi-Fi access, 470 institutions to electricity and over 94% of Malawians to television signal. (Full disclosure: RIS was one of the author’s of the report).
  • Nigeria: Multichoice Nigeria has been ordered by pay 50% of a USD 2.19 billion fine, as a precondition for the Federal Inland Revenue Service will hear a full appeal. This penalty is significantly higher than the entire Multichoice Group’s market capitalization.
  • Africa: Facebook marketplace has been launched in an additional 37 countries in Africa. This has the potential to attract a significant share of small and medium businesses to the Facebook platform.