About-Us

BOCRA is mandated by Sec 6 (h) of the CRA Act to process applications for and issue, licences, permits, permissions, concessions and authorities for regulated sectors being telecommunications, Internet, radio communications, broadcasting and postal.

Licensing Framework (Telecommunications And Broadcasting)

In 2015, BOCRA commissioned a study to review licensing framework and pricing principles for telecommunications services.  The study culminated with the introduction of a new framework intended to close market gaps that have existed in the previous framework and provide a more conducive environment for market growth and improvement of the welfare of the society taking into account convergence of technologies and evolution to Next Generation Networks.

The framework has primary objective to achieve Efficiency of Convergence where multiple services are delivered on single network or platform embracing convergence of networks, services and technologies. It also aims to achieve Technology neutrality where licensed networks are not distinguished by technology but capability to deliver multiple and multimedia products. The framework further aims to achieve Ease of market entry and increased competition; Consumer choice; Diversification, Open Access as well as Economic Inclusion.

The licensing framework covers broadcasting systems, broadcasting service, subscription management services, electronic communications, telecommunication service and telecommunication systems under broad areas of System license, Service license, Broadcasting and Re-broadcasting Licenses as provided for in the CRA Act.

The framework provides for three major licensing categories being:

Network Facilities Provider (NFP) where licensees own, operate or provide any form of physical infrastructure used principally for carrying service and applications and content. The infrastructure may include fixed links, radio communication transmitters, satellites and satellites station, submarine cable, fibre/copper cable, towers, switches, base stations. The facilities are for own use or for availing to other licensed operators on commercial basis. Private Telecommunications Networks fall in this category and are further specified in the appropriate license type to distinguish them from major networks.

Services and Applications Provider (SAP)

SAPs are non-infrastructure based service providers that provide all forms of services and applications to end users using infrastructure of the Network Facilities Provider. The services and applications may be based on speech, sound, data, text and images and they deliver a specific function to the end user. The services and applications shall not be for broadcasting purposes.

Content Services Provider (CSP)

CSP licensee provides content material in the form of speech or other sounds, text, data, images, whether still or moving solely for broadcasting (TV and radio) and other information services including Subscription TV. NB, State broadcasters do not require license to operate.

Licensing Framework (Postal Services)

In August 2015 BOCRA conducted a study to assess the postal market and develop appropriate licensing framework.  Following conclusion of the study, BOCRA introduced a licensing framework that provides for two licensing categories for the postal sector as follows:

The Designated Postal Operator (DPO) licence.  The licence category provides for a postal operator to be designated to carry universal postal service obligations.

The Commercial Postal Operator (CPO) licence.  The licence category provides for postal operators which provide value-added services.

List of licensed broadcasting operators

List of licensed postal operators

List of internet service providers

Telecom Statistics: Quarter Ending December 2015 And March 2016   

 

 

MARKET SHARE BY NUMBER OF SUBSCRIPTIONS
  Dec-15 Mar-16
MASCOM 1,839,782  1,826,361
ORANGE 1,124,012 1,122,291
beMOBILE 511,533 511,679 

 

ANNUAL FIXED TELEPHONY SUBSCRIPTIONS
  Dec-15 Mar-16
NUMBER OF SUBSCRIPTIONS 160,490 161,641

 

MOBILE PREPAID AND POSTPAID TELEPHONY SUBSCRIPTIONS  
  Dec-15 Mar-16
PREPAID 3,395,758  3,379,127
POSTPAID 79,569 81,204

 

FIXED BROADBAND SUBSCRIPTIONS (INCLUDES WIMAX)
  Dec-15 Mar-16
NO OF SUBSCRIPTIONS 36,845 36,602

 

MOBILE BROADBAND SUBSCRIPTIONS
NO OF SUBSCRIPTIONS Dec-15 Mar-16
MASCOM 765,169 764,653
ORANGE 472,026   450,204
beMOBILE 146,951 145,379

 

MOBILE MONEY SUBSCRIPTIONS
MOBILE MONEY SUBSCRIPTIONS Dec-15 Mar-16
MASCOM 167,356  174,733
ORANGE 356,938  381,471
beMOBILE 2,496  2,499 

 

 

 

MARKET SHARE BY NUMBER OF SUBSCRIPTIONS 2015 
  Mar-15 Jun-15 Sep-15 Dec-15
MASCOM  1,783,389  1,784,400  1,793,553 1,839,782 
ORANGE  1,081,671 1,084,255  1,093,957   1,124,012
 beMOBILE 540,827 546,003  552,167 511,533 

 

ANNUAL FIXED TELEPHONY SUBSCRIPTIONS 2015   
  Mar-15 Jun-15 Sep-15 Dec-15
NUMBER OF SUBSCRIPTIONS   169,474  171,006  172,920  160,490

 

MOBILE PREPAID AND POSTPAID TELEPHONY SUBSCRIPTIONS 2015
  Mar-15 Jun-15 Sep-15 Dec-15
PREPAID  3,324,654  3,334,807  3,361,527 3,395,758
POSTPAID  81,233 79,851 78,150 79,569 

 

FIXED BROADBAND SUBSCRIPTIONS (INCLUDES WIMAX) 2015  
  Mar-15 Jun-15 Sep-15 Dec-15
NO OF SUBSCRIPTIONS  34,435 35,641 36,272 36,845

 

MOBILE BROADBAND SUBSCRIPTIONS 2015
NO OF SUBSCRIPTIONS Mar-15 Jun-15 Sep-15 Dec-15
 MASCOM 654,314 681,029  707,947  765,169 
ORANGE 444,999  444,156 453,535 472,026
beMOBILE 89,327 120,809 134,181  146,951

 

MOBILE MONEY SUBSCRIPTIONS 2015
 NO OF SUBSCRIPTIONS Mar-15 Jun-15 Sep-15 Dec-15
MASCOM 142,910  151,007  159,389 167,356
ORANGE  266,785 296,957  320,132 356,938 
beMOBILE  2,431 2,435   2,438  2,496 

 

Market Share By Number Of Subscriptions As At March 2015

 

Market Share By Number Of Subscriptions As At March 2014

 

Annual Fixed Telephony Subscriptions

Mar-14 Mar-15
Number of subscriptions  174,992

 

Annual Postpaid And Prepaid Mobile Telephony Subscriptions  

Type of Subscription Mar-14 Mar-15
Prepaid 3,126,346 3,324,654
Postpaid 78,523 81,233
TOTAL 3,204,869 3,405,887

 

Monthly Fixed Broadband(Includes WIMAX Subscriptions) 

Month Fixed broadband
Mar-14 26,645
Apr-14  27,311
May-14  28,178
Jun-14 29,131
Jul-14 30,405
Aug-14 31,751
Sep-14 32,431
Oct-14 32,917
Nov-14 33,116
Dec-14 33,290
Jan-15  33,681
Feb-15 34,063
Mar-15 34,435

 

Monthly Mobile  And Fixed Telephony Subscriptions 

Month Mobile telephony Fixed telephony
Mar-14 3,204,869 174,992
Apr-14 3,198,296 175,191
May-14 3,196,837 175,478
Jun-14 3,196,112 175,674
Jul-14 3,173,949 169,701
Aug-14 3,186,998 168,579
Sep-14 3,219,260 168,817
Oct-14 3,235,745 169,119
Nov-14 3,266,633 169,346
Dec-14 3,410,507 169,236
Jan-15  3,430,143 169,391
Feb-15 3,428,442 169,439
Mar-15 3,405,887  168,433

 

Mobile And Fixed Telephony Subscriptions, 2012

Month Mobile Telephony Fixed Telephony
January 2,921,362 150,515
February 2,938,856 150,559
March 2,953,116 150,549
April 2,960,089 150,525
May 2,970,672 151,241
June 2,975,991 151,360
July 2,967,831 151,796
August 2,975,327 158,504
September 2,990,531 159,182
October 3,001,587 159,223
November 3, 027, 097 162, 012
December 3, 081, 726 160, 488

 

Postpaid And Prepaid Mobile Telephony, October 2012

Prepaid 2,939,300
Postpaid 62,287

 

Fixed Broadband Subscriptions 2012

Month Fixed Broadband
January 15989
February 16147
March 16298
April 16695
May 17070
June 17204
July 17551
August 17798
September 18166
October 18679
November 18750
December 18838

 

ADSL Vs. Mobile Internet

2011 2012
  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3
ADSL 14,082 14,419 14,474 15,707 16,298 17,204 18,166
Mobile Internet 165,065 200,198 224,474 238,942 259,734 294,548 339,926

Mobile And Fixed Telephony Subscriptions 2013

Month Mobile Telephony Fixed Telephony
January 3,076,551 161,559
February 3,089,221 162,236
March 3,095,894 162,718
April 3,099,842 161,054
May 3,104,775 162,564
June 3,121,077 163,699
July 3,150,198 163,892
August 3,193,381 164,063
September 3,215,619 170,910
October 3,222,266 170,741
November 3,208,128 174,049
December 3,246,787 174,165

 

Fixed Broadband Subscriptions, 2013 

Month Fixed Broadband
January 19,010
February 19,154
March 19,388
April 19,671
May 19,837
June 19,963
July 20,136
August 20,322
September 20,639
October 20,852
November 21,294
December 21,590

 

Mobile Money Subscriptions: Year Ending Dec 2013
2011 70,000
2012 150,000
2013 248,000

 

Proportions by Subscription Types Postpaid vs Prepaid Mobile subscription December 2013
Prepaid 3169148
Postpaid 77639

Monthly Mobile  And Fixed Telephony Subscriptions

Month Mobile telephony Fixed telephony
Jan-14 3,231,319 174,332
Feb-14 3,212,725 174,846
Mar-14 3,204,869 174,992
Apr-14 3,198,296 175,191
May-14 3,196,837 175,191
May-14 3,196,837 175,478
Jun-14 3,196,112 175,674
Jul-14 3,173,949 169,701
Aug-14 3,186,998 168,579
Sep-14 3,219,260 168,817
Oct-14 3,235,745 169,119
Nov-14 3,266,633 169,346
Dec-14 3,410,507 169,236

 

Monthly Fixed Broadband(Includeds WIMAX Subscriptions)

Month Fixed broadband
Jan-14 25,067
Feb-14 25,999
Mar-14 26,645
Apr-14 27,311
May-14 28,178
Jun-14 29,131
Jul-14 30,405
Aug-14 31,751
Sep-14 32,431
Oct-14 32,917
Nov-14 33,116
Dec-14 33,290

 

Annual Postpaid And Prepaid Mobile Telephony Subscriptions

Type of Subscription Dec-13 Dec-14
Prepaid 3,169,148 3,328,284
Postpaid 77,639 82,223
TOTAL

3,246,787

3,410,507

 

Annual Fixed Telephony Subscriptions

 

Dec-13

Dec-14
Number of subscriptions  174,165 169,236

 

To view prices for voice calls, SMS, data bandwidth, broadband, value added services and roaming, go to www.mascom.bw; www.orange.co.bw;  www.btc.bw

The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) commissioned an independent study of the future of Botswanas E.164 (telephony) Numbering Plan. This report is written on the basis of information gathered and discussions held during a weeks visit by an external consultant to Botswana in July 1998. Discussions including BOCRA staff and the consultant took place with:

  • Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) (twice)
  • Both cellular operators, Orange Botswana (then Vista)  and Mascom Wireless
  • Three users (with responsibility for large company telecoms), all based in Gaborone
  • A. C. Braby (Botswanas directory producer)

All those who took part in these discussions are thanked for their valuable contributions. Comments on a draft report made by BOCRA, BTC and Mascom are also acknowledged, and have been reflected here wherever appropriate.

The Current Numbering Plan

Botswanas population is around 1.8m, with a fixed line teledensity of about 8 per hundred population, amounting to some 144 195 lines as at March 2009. Over half of the lines are concentrated in the capital, Gaborone. Together with a small but fast growing number of mobile phones, the fixed lines are numbered by a closed near-uniform geographically structured 6-digit numbering plan. The following numbers have more than 6 digits:

  • DDI lines in Gaborone, which have 7 digits, numbered in the ranges starting 36 and 355 mobile phones, which have 2-digit codes (71 and 72) and 6-digit subscriber numbers, ie 8 digits in all the new 0800 freephone range, which with 6-digit subscriber numbers (SNs) amount to 10 digits in all...

The information on this website is provided for general reference purposes only. While the Botswana Telecommunications Autority (BTA) makes every effort to ensure that the information contained on this site is accurate, complete and up to date, BTA does not accept any responsibility for either the accuracy of the site’s content or the consequences of any decisions made on the basis of this content. BTA reserves the right to change the content of the website at any time and without notice.

Although BTA provides links to other websites or systems, BTA cannot be held responsible for content of external links.

The user hereby agrees that any dispute of whatsoever nature relating to or arising out of any use of the Website, whether directly or indirectly, shall be governed by the laws of the Republic of Botswana. The user hereby acknowledges that he/she has read and understands this disclaimer and has agreed to be bound by the terms and conditions hereof.

The BOCRA Communications Strategy aims at creating a customer driven external and internal communications process. The communications process targets internal and external communications of BOCRA and includes traditional and non-traditional communication channels to ensure a holistic approach that is governed by a corporate communications mindset. The underlying objective is to proactively promote a positive image of the BOCRA and ensure that BOCRA fulfils its mandate to continuously improve the BOCRA by facilitating ongoing consultation and feedback.

The media centre is intended to advance the ideals of the Communications Strategy by offering a platform where the BOCRA will be able to interact with its target audience that include: BOCRA Board; Government (through line ministry); National Broadcasting Board; Telecommunications Service Providers; Telecommunications Service Consumers; Investors; International Telecommunications Organisations; Media and BOCRA Staff.

The Centre will be repository of information targeted at:

Promoting BOCRA (explaining how it works, celebrating its successes, making its services and decisions more accessible)

Educating the Public (raise awareness amongst the public about the BOCRA and  informing them about telecommunications and broadcasting services and educating them about their rights)

Conveying messages about telecommunications (influencing behaviour, promoting universally accessible communications technologies, and increasing telecommunications literacy in the population)

Peering with other regulators (fostering the exchange of staff, sharing of information and influencing decisions at regional and international communications arena)

In order to ensure that the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority is offered the best value-for-money, it has a thorough tendering process.

Tendering Documents

Tender documents - usually called an Invitation to Tender (ITT) - will most likely contain the following sections:

  • Introduction - background information on the tender
  • Tender Conditions - the legal parameters surrounding the tender
  • Specification - the description of the supplies, service or works to be provided
  • Instructions for Tender Submission - instructions for the bidders
  • Qualitative Tender Response - qualitative questions to be answered by the bidder
  • Pricing and Delivery Schedule - quantitative questions to be answered  by the bidder
  • Form of Tender - declaration to be signed by the bidder
  • Certificate of Non-Collusion - declaration that the bidder has not  colluded with any other bidder on the tender
  • Draft of Proposed Contract - a draft of the contract which will be signed  by the successful bidder
    • Universal Access Service Fund
    • Consultancy Services for the Development of Cost Models and Pricing Framework for ICT Services to Enhance Competition among Operations in Botswana
    • Consultancy Services for a Market Study and the Development of a Licensing Framework for the Postal Sector in Botswana
    • Review of Type Approval Technical Standards & Procedures and Development of Broadcasting Technical Standards
    • Notice of Tenders

Complaint Handling Procedures

BOCRA continues to monitor the quality of service provided by licensees. To this end, the BOCRA has developed Quality of Service Guidelines for operators with a view to improve and maintain service quality by identifying service deficiencies, specifying network service quality parameters, improving  operations, performance and networks. In the event that you are not satisfied with the service provided by your service provider, you may wish to lodge a complaint against the concerned service provider. You should approach your service provider first for assistance.

BOCRA will investigate a consumer complaint against a service provider if there is sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case on possible breaches of any provisions under the Communications Regulatory Authority Act 2012 or any conditions under the operators licence.

Customers are advised to obtain and familiarise themselves with complaints handling processes of the respective service providers.

The Complaint Handling Process

Step 1: Address The Complaint To The Service Provider

Consumers will first address their complaints to the appropriate service provider. Consumers should first explore and exhaust all possible channels of remedy available within the operator(s) before any reference to the BTA.

Step 2 : Ask The Service Provider For The Time It Will Take To Resolve The Complaint

Consumers should ask the operator(s) to state the period within which complaints will be resolved. Complaints to an operator will be resolved within the time frame as stipulated by the service provider. Any deviation should be accompanied by a written explanation to the complainant.

Step 3 : Keep Copies Of Correspondence Of The Complaint

It is important that complainants keep records of all correspondence between themselves and the operators. Where possible, complainants should request service providers to acknowledge receipt by stamping their copies of complaint letter.

Step 4 : Escalate Complaint To The Highest Level Within The Service Provider

If a complaint is not resolved in the first instance, the consumer should request for the complaint to be escalated to a higher level in line with the Operators Guidelines for Handling Complaints.

Step 5 : Escalate The Complaint To The BOCRA

Where the operator has not satisfactorily resolved a complaint, the consumer should refer that complaint to the BOCRA.

The Notification about the referred complaint shall include the following:

  • The names and addresses of the parties involved
  • A brief statement of facts on the complaint
  • Copies of any relevant supporting documents
  • The relief or remedy sought

Complaints may be brought to the BOCRA by post, hand delivery, email or fax to the following address:

The Chief Executive
Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority
Plot No. 206/207, Independence Avenue
Private Bag 00495
Gaborone
Tel: +267 395 7755
Fax: +267 395 7976
Email: info@bta.org.bw 
Website: www.bta.org.bw

The Botswana Communications  Regulatory Authority is empowered by the Communications Regulatory Authority Act 2012, to promote the interests of consumers, purchasers and other users of the telecommunication services in respect of price, quality and variety of, such services and equipment supplied for provision of the same. Liberalisation of the telecommunications market brought with it variety of telecommunications services that differ in price and quality. The growth of the telecommunications industry is rapid. New telecommunications service and technology emerge fast. Consumers need to obtain sufficient information about these services in order to make informed choices and get the best value for money, as their basic rights. Consumer Rights The Constitution of Botswana provides for rights, which are recognised as inalienable to every citizen of this country.

The BOCRA has also listed some rights which every consumer of telecommunications services is entitled to, irrespective of his or her status in life. It is therefore incumbent upon the consumer to demand these rights that include the following.

The Right To Be Informed

This right impels service providers to factually and comprehensively inform consumers about products or services devoid of falsehood, deceit, misleading information and advertisement. It is as such the responsibility of service providers to always give accurate, sufficient and relevant information to guide consumers in making rationale choices and informed decisions. It amounts to a breach of consumers' rights not to disclose all information pertaining to a product and service.

The Right To Choice

This has to do with assurance of access to a variety of products and services at competitive prices so that options of which product to buy and which not, will exist for the different segments of society.

The Right To Be Heard

This provides ample opportunities and channels of expressing grievances, opinions, lodging complaints, suggesting ways and means of improving service delivery to customers. Customer is always right and it is therefore incumbent upon all providers of telecommunications services to respect and uphold the right of the customer.

The Right To Safety

This is aimed at protecting consumers against marketing unwholesome, sub-standard, defective goods and services.

Should you feel that any of these rights have not been respected, you need to take it up with the service provider and ultimately the Communications Regulatory Authority.

The BOCRA investigates complaints on the facts provided by both parties (the Service provider and the complainant), and it will reach a resolution based on the telecommunications Act [CAP 72:03] and what we consider to be fair and reasonable under the circumstances.

The BOCRA handles complaints on an array of issues that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Billing
  • Failure to provide or repair  telecommunications equipment and Internet service
  • Interconnection problems
  • Delays in repairing and connecting service to customers
  • Fault repairs
  • Mobile phones problems
  • Internet access contracts

The BOCRA will need cooperation and assistance to ensure that the process is as effective and fast as possible. The Complainant should think about what the end results of the investigation should be whether, a formal apology, an explanation, financial compensation or simply ensuring that the problem never happens again from the service providers.

The complainant should think about their argument and weigh up the evidence on their side. If the complainant does not have enough information or evidence it might be difficult to achieve this results, and the complainant should be willing to compromise if need be.

The BOCRA will make an independent assessment of the complaint. The complaint will be attended to within two days of receipt of the letter, fax or email and for complex complaint that may take longer time to resolve the complainant will be kept informed about the progress.

Remember Before Complaining To The BOCRA

  • Try to resolve the problem directly with your service providers, speak to customers service manager or any senior representative of the company and written complaints are vital and please keep copies.
  • Get the full name(s), position of the customer service manager and make notes of key points discussed. Always record the time and date of the conversation.
  • Always have with you relevant papers such as contract, bills and correspondence document that you consider being your evidence, and do not send original documents to the unit of consumer affairs.

When you lodge a complaint with the BOCRA you will be required to provide some personal information that will be made available to the service provider. If you wish to remain anonymous or withhold personal information the BOCRA may not be able to assist you.

If you would like to complain to BOCRA write to:

The Chief Executive
Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority
Private Bag 00495
Gaborone

Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) is the regulator of the Botswana communications sector, with responsibilities over telecommunications, broadcasting, postal and radio communication services. Technology is fast changing every aspect of our economy and telecommunications regulation is fast changing to keep pace with all these changes in the industry. This is an exciting time to be at the heart of this fast-moving sector. You can be part of it. Come and find out more about working for BOCRA and our current opportunities.

Life At BOCRA

BOCRA is an organisation in which talented people work together, thrive and develop. We are committed to investing and supporting our Colleagues.

What We Can Offer You

We believe that the reward package at BOCRA is based on much more than just salary. Our aim is to empower colleagues to undertake interesting and important work and we are committed to investing and supporting people to achieve their full potential.

Professional Development

At BOCRA, people are our greatest asset, so developing our people is a fundamental part of our ethos.We take professional development very seriously,and encourage colleagues to seek continuous development to improve their performance in role.We also provide a variety of opportunities for colleagues to meet those needs, including:

  • a comprehensive set of internal training courses;
  • investment to attend appropriate external courses;
  • sponsorships for professional or academic qualifications; and
  • memberships of professional bodies.

We believe that our colleagues are best-placed to choose the benefits that are of most value to them, so we have designed a flexible benefits package to suit individual needs. The range of benefits that can be chosen reflects the flexible environment we aim to create.

Benefits

Our standard benefits include:

  • Pension allowance
  • 25 days holiday
  • Private Medical Insurance
  • Life Assurance

You can also choose from a wider range of flexible benefits, including the option to purchase additional annual leave, travel insurance, private medical cover for your family... and much more.

Our Offices

Botswana Communications  Regulatory Authority
Plot No. 50671, Independence Avenue
P/Bag 00495
Gaborone
Tel: +267 395-7755
Fax: +267 396-7976

Graduate Trainee Scheme

In May 2008, the Botswana Communications  Regulatory Authority launched a Graduate Trainee Scheme; a programme that was designed to attract fresh graduates into the telecommunications regulation industry. Once recruited, graduates would undergo  "on-the-job" mentoring as well as intensive academic training necessary to bridge their passage to telecommunications regulation. Based on the success of the initial programme, the BOCRA management decided to continue the Graduate Training scheme on a " as-needed " basis through which fresh graduates are invited to join the telecommunications industry.

The Graduate Package

On top of the benefits that the BOCRA offers, the Graduate Trainees also receive an attractive allowance as well as a comprehensive graduate induction programme, where they:

  • learn about BOCRA role and responsibilities;
  • meet key people and spend time in different areas of the business;
  • develop sufficient understanding of legislative policies, processes and procedures;
  • explore the skills and behaviours needed for effective team working and making the transition from university to work; and
  • navigate BOCRA systems and premises.

Training for the BOCRA  Trainee Graduate will be ongoing throughout the scheme. They will receive a combination of carefully planned development throughout their rotations in subjects such as: market analysis, introduction to regulation; monitoring licensees for  compliance, public education etc. along with the training tailored to suit individual development needs.

As part of our commitment, Graduates Trainees will also have a mentor. This is an important part of the graduate scheme and your ongoing development. The mentoring scheme in BOCRA is a way of developing colleagues by allowing them to bounce ideas off more experienced people and creating greater alignment with the organisation values and ambitions. It encourages individuals to discuss issues, ideas and challenges on an equal footing.

BOCRA is mandated by Sec 84 of the CRA Act to Type Approve communications equipment that may be connected, used or operated to provide broadcasting or telecommunications services in Botswana.  In addition, BOCRA is mandated to ensure consumer protection.

The purpose of Type Approval procedure is to ensure that all radio communication and telecommunication equipment used in Botswana comply with international standards that are applicable in Botswana as a member of the ITU Region 1.  Type approval of equipment is also intended to ensure that no substandard equipment which may represent health and safety hazards to consumers are used in Botswana.

In addition, Type Approval serves to protect consumers from products that are not compatible with the local telecommunications network, and ensures that the operating frequency of all radio communication equipment is in conformity with the Botswana frequency spectrum allocation plan to avoid causing harmful interference to essential services.

BOCRA Type Approved equipment is provided.

In line with the Communications Regulatory Authority Act 2012 the BOCRA shall:

  • ensure the rational use of the radio frequency spectrum in Botswana by establishing and maintaining a national radio frequency
  • ensure that the needs of existing and new radio services are met;
  • monitor radio frequency occupancy;
  • make regulations and establish standards governing the use of frequency bands in accordance with international regulations;
  • prescribe the conditions and tariffs applicable in connection with the allocation of radio frequencies to the holders of telecommunication licence holders;
  • negotiate with other countries and with international organizations in connection with radio frequency spectrum management and matters related thereto;
  • establish the necessary technical standards in relation to the radio frequency spectrum;
  • allocate radio frequencies in a manner which will avoid harmful interference, particularly in relation to safety and anergic services; and
  • ensure that an appropriate amount of radio frequency spectrum is available for government as well as non-government use.

The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) commissioned an independent study of the future of Botswanas E.164 (telephony) Numbering Plan.

The Current Numbering Plan

Botswanas population is around 2.1 Million (2011 National Census), with a fixed line teledensity of about 8 per hundred population, amounting to some 161 641 lines as at March 2016. Over half of the lines are concentrated in the capital, Gaborone. Together with a small but fast growing number of mobile phones, the fixed lines are numbered by a closed near-uniform geographically structured 6-digit numbering plan. The following numbers have more than 6 digits:

  • DDI lines in Gaborone, which have 7 digits, numbered in the ranges starting 36 and 355 mobile phones, which have 2-digit codes (71 and 72) and 6-digit subscriber numbers, ie 8 digits in all the new 0800 freephone range, which with 6-digit subscriber numbers (SNs) amount to 10 digits in all...

The basis for the Botswana Radio Frequency Band Plan is Section 47 of the Communications Regulatory Authority Act (CRA) and Article 5 of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations. The ITU Radio Regulations are annexed to the ITU Convention and are revised by the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference, normally held every three years. The Botswana frequency allocations are broadly in consonance with the ITU requirements for Region 1, within which Botswana falls under.

The table of frequency allocations presents the band plan for the future and present use of the radio spectrum in Botswana between 9 kHz and 105 GHz. The spectrum has been divided into frequency bands within which certain designated radiocommunication services may operate.

3.1 Frequency bands are shown in increasing frequency orders from 9 kHz to 105 GHz.

3.2 Column 1 indicates the frequency bands for the allocations.

3.3 Column 2 of the Table of frequency allocations refer to the ITU Region 1 Radio Regulations and the allocation of frequency bands to radiocommunication services, and is shown for
information only.

3.4 Column 3 is the National Allocation Column and it indicates the Botswana National Allocations. The National Allocations are also divided into Primary and Secondary Services. In most instances they are identical to the ITU Region 1 allocations, unless where the national footnotes describe other uses of the band or the region allocations are not suitable for Botswana
(e.g. some maritime services).

3.5 Column 4 indicates the main utilizations in Botswana. The column indicates the main service to which the band is allocated or the main service that presently uses the band. It does not mean that the service has exclusivity to the frequency and it is presented here mainly as a guideline. BOCRA might make changes to the main service depending on technical possibilities of sharing frequencies. In some cases the future use of the spectrum is so uncertain that the column is left blank. This is the case for many frequency bands above 60 GHz.

3.6 Column 5 is the frequency band/mid frequency column which gives specific details about services using the band and mid frequency where appropriate.

3.7 Column 6 is the Duplex Band column, which presents duplex bands used by the services mentioned in the previous column. It is mostly relevant to mobile services.

Column 7 is the Remark column which indicates several items such as; the name of the service that presently uses the band, future requirements in the band, name of the channel plan that is used/will be used for the band, indication of the national footnotes for migration etc.

Download Document

Digital Switchover Process

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) convened a Regional Radiocommunications Conference (RRC 06) to plan for Digital broadcasting on frequency bands VHF (bands III 174-230 MHz), and UHF (band IV and V 470-862 MHz) for the ITU Region 1 in 2006.

Infrastructure Sharing

The growth of telecommunications services especially mobile telephony, since 1996 has led to the worldwide proliferation of telecommunications infrastructure across towns, cities and the countryside.

Country Code Top Level Domain

The Government of Botswana through the then Ministry of Communications Science and Technology (MCST) has mandated the BOCRA to perform the regulatory and administrative functions for the registration of the .bw domain name.

National Broadband Strategy

The Government of Botswana and Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) are at the final stages of developing a National Broadband Strategy that would provide a holistic and coordinated approach to supporting and enhancing the broadband ecosystem of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Botswana. The aim is to realise long term national strategic outcomes by facilitating the construction and use of high-speed, high quality and reliable ICT networks that are able to carry large volumes of digital data and information.

I have the pleasure to present to you, our valued stakeholder, the new and improved BOCRA website.  The improved website marks our continuous efforts to better reach out to you and at the same time receive your feedback so that we can serve you better.  The website carries a new look with improved colour scheme and technical capabilities to improve navigation and enhance your user experience.  The website can now be accessed through a variety of devices including hand held devices like mobile handsets without a compromise on its functionality.  It is also designed to link better with our other online platforms particularly social media platforms.

I invite to use the platform and give feedback on how your it should continue to be improved so that it meets your expectations

Tshoganetso Kepaletswe

Ag. Chief Executive

Communications Regulatory Authority Act (CRA)

The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) is an independent communications regulatory authority established through the Communications Regulatory Authority Act 2012 (CRA) on 1 April 2013 with the mandate to regulate the communications sector in Botswana comprising Telecommunications, Internet and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), Radio communications, Broadcasting, Postal services and related matters.

Electronic Records (Evidence) Act

BOCRA also has a mandate under the Electronic Records (Evidence) Act No 13 of 2014 that Act deals with the admissibility of electronic evidence in court, to establish an approved process for the production of electronic documents and also certify electronic records systems for purposes of integrity. 

Electronic Communications And Transactions Act, 2014

The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2014 mandates BOCRA to carry out accreditation of the secure digital signature service providers and administration of the take down notices. The Act facilitates e-commerce and gives electronic signatures the legal equivalence of hand written signatures before the courts of law.

Universal Access And Service Notarial Deed Of Trust

BOCRA has also entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Universal Access and Service Fund, where in the UASF has BOCRA as the Manager of the Fund to provide investment and management services to the UASF.

BOCRA staff is currently divided into following departments, each headed by a Director. The departments are:

  • Compliance and Monitoring
  • Corporate Support
  • Business Development
  • Technical Services
  • Corporate Communications and Relations

Organisational Objectives

  • Facilitating entry of new service providers into the market;
  • Managing the frequency spectrum efficiently in order to maximize frequency availability ;
  • Making provision, to the extent necessary and in accordance with the Botswana Government Policy, for the financing of universal service in areas where this would otherwise be uneconomic and for special tariffs for disadvantaged users.;
  • Promoting the development of user representation and instituting consumer protection measure;
  • Developing BTA as a dynamic, open, transparent and respected organization with highly competent and well motivated staff, which will be a model telecommunications regulatory body

The preamble of the Communications Regulatory Authority Act 2012 suggests that BOCRA is responsible for the regulation of the communications sector in Botswana, comprising among others the Internet and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs).

The foregoing notwithstanding, BOCRA facilitates the growth of the Internet market as part its role to facilitate the uptake of ICTs. The use of smartphones has led to increased number of people with access to mobile internet especially among the youth. 

In a bid to improve the performance of the Internet, BOCRA issued Guidelines on Minimum Requirements for Internet

Connectivity in Hospitality Facilities, which among others sets minimum standards for Internet connectivity in the industry. The Guidelines are intended to provide guidance for the quality of Internet services and minimum bandwidth requirements to be adopted by both the Hospitality Facilities and Service Providers. 

Wholesale Internet Bandwidth Prices

Wholesale Internet bandwidth prices/tariffs have been declining.  The decline in wholesale Internet bandwidth prices is influenced by acquisition of Internet bandwidth capacity through the East Africa Sub Marine System (EASSy) and West Africa Cable System (WACS) undersea cables systems.  It is also in keeping with international trends.

As a converged regulator, BOCRA is responsible for regulatory oversight of broadcasting, internet, postal and telecommunications services.

 

The CRA Act, 2012 ushered in a new dawn of regulation for the postal sector as BOCRA assumed the mandate of supervising the provision of postal service in Botswana. The CRA Act prohibits any person to provide postal services without a valid licence issued by BOCRA. The Authority is also mandated to ensure that there is provision of safe, reliable, efficient and affordable postal services throughout Botswana.

BOCRA has prepared the ground for regulation of postal services by putting in place regulatory instruments and tools such as licensing requirements for courier companies and interim licences and authorisations for postal operators.

Current Market Structure

The postal market comprises BotswanaPost as the main player with 124 post offices spread across the country, 82 postal agencies. Other players include commercial operators who, to a large extent, lease facilities from BotswanaPost as well as a number of courier companies offering express services. Commercial operators and courier companies are largely concentrated in urban areas and focus on some niche markets while BotswanaPost covers a wider populace.

Licensing of Courier Companies

BOCRA granted two year interim licences to Courier Services Licences to Botswana Couriers and Logistics, Supaswift Botswana, Parrot Worldwide Express, Silvertron529, Sprint Couriers and Fast and Furious International pending the formulation of a comprehensive licensing framework for the postal sector.  The licensed courier companies were in existence prior to the implementation of the CRA Act. 

Designation of a Public Postal Operator

Pursuant to section 67 of the CRA Act, the Minister responsible for Communications must designate one postal service provider as a Public Postal Operator. A Public Postal Operator carries a number of universal service obligations aimed at ensuring that, so far as it is practicable, postal services reach all inhabitants of Botswana. Invariably, this mandate includes provision of universal postal services in areas that are not commercially viable and hence the need to continuously explore new ways of funding this mandate as it cannot be sustained through Government funding alone.

The CRA Act mandates BOCRA to regulate all broadcasting; subscription management services and re-broadcasting activities save for the state broadcasting. It is in this light that BOCRA regulates Yarona FM, Duma FM, Gabz FM and eBotswana. 

Commercial radio stations namely Yarona, Duma, Gabz FM are all available in most of major towns and villages in Botswana. The stations have extended access to their services through online broadcasting transmission which makes them accessible worldwide. 

eBotswana television station is currently available in Gaborone and surrounding villages within a 60km radius of Gaborone through terrestrial broadcasting. eBotswana will in future introduce a satellite broadcast service in order to achieve national coverage. 

Broadcasters are required to promote music tracks by local artists.  Broadcasters’ licences specify a certain percentage of local content to be complied with.

Click the link for National Broadcasting Board Audience Survey for the Broadcasting Sector in Botswana.

Under the Communications Regulatory Authority Act 2012, BOCRA has authority - within the guidelines established by the 1995 Telecommunication Policy to regulate telecommunications, among other sub-sectors communications. The telecommunications sector, sparred by the mobile technology, continues to experience significant growth in terms of the total number of consumers and variety of services.

The Telecommunications/ICT sector has undergone numerous reforms since the introduction of competition in 1998. Currently three Public Telecommunication Operators (PTOs) provide local, international, national and mobile services. The market structure for local services, domestic long distance services, market for international long distance services and market structure for mobile services has been partly liberalised. The telecommunications market is dominated by the three operators which operate under Public Telecommunications Operator (PTO) licence namely Botswana Telecommunications Limited (BTCL), Mascom Wireless Botswana (Pty) Ltd (Mascom) and Orange Botswana (Pty) Ltd (Orange). The other major player in the market is Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) which was issued an interim licence to provide wholesale services beginning 1 April 2013. BoFiNet started offering services in October 2013.  Other market players are the Value Added Network Services (VANS) providers. 

Although the PTO licence allows the operators to offer both mobile and fixed telephony services and products, Mascom and Orange continue to offer mobile telephony services only including mobile internet and value add services while BTCL provides both the fixed and mobile telephony services including data network services, providing access and connectivity.

The market for private networks is fully liberalised as Value Added Services (VANS) may provide services using any technology including very small aperture terminals (VSAT). The market for terminal equipment trade is also fully liberalised as no telecommunications licence is required to sell terminal equipment, however, vendors for radio equipment have to be approved by the BOCRA, as one of the functions of the BOCRA is to type approve communication equipment.

In addition, Private Telecommunications Network Licences (PTNL) have been issued to entities to build private networks for internal business use.

BOCRA reviewed the old ICT licensing framework that has been in operation since 2007 and began implementation of the new and converged framework in September 2015. The new ICT licensing framework was meant to create a more conducive environment for ICT development. Its development was motivated by the need to meet demand for real-time high quality and affordable services, and to accommodate emerging players for increased competitiveness. It is intended to deliver enhanced value proposition for consumers and the entire Botswana market.

The revised licensing framework has two major categories which are Network Facilities Provider Licence (NFP) and the Services and Applications Provider Licence (SAP) compared to the previous one which had three licence categories being PTO, VANS and PTNL.

The market for Internet telephony is also fully liberalised, and VANS are allowed to provide voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services. The number of PTOs has been restricted to three as a policy decision. In 2006, the Government of Botswana decided to privatise the incumbent, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC). Following the Government’s decision to privatize BTC, in 2008, Parliament enacted the BTC (Transition) Act to assist the privatisation process. Consequently, the Botswana Fibre Networks (BoFiNet) was created as a wholesale provider of national and international telecommunication infrastructure while BTC remained a retailer.  In 2008 BTC introduced its mobile network, beMOBILE. On the 1st of November 2012, BTC was converted from a statutory body into a public company limited by shares, in accordance with   the Transition Act and Companies Act, and renamed Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited.

1996

Approval of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 [No. 15 of 1996]; Establishment of the Botswana Telecommunication Authority (BTA) and the beginning of liberalisation of the telecommunications market.

1997

Setting up of the BTA with the assistance of the Swedish Management Group (SMG) and publishing of the tender for the procurement of mobile telephone services.

1998

Beginning of competition and awarding of the first fifteen year mobile licences to Mascom Wireless (Pty) Ltd and Vista Cellular (now Orange Botswana (Pty) Ltd). The licences were awarded with a ten (10) year exclusivity period.

1999

Licensing of the first two commercial FM Broadcasting Radio Stations; Yarona FM and Gabz-FM. BTA awarded the first Internet Service Providers’ licences.

2000

Hosting of the Telecommunications Regulators Association of Southern Africa (TRASA) Programme office. BOCRA moved into its own building (the current office). National Roaming was suspended. BOCRA issued two rulings directing Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) to provide leased line capacity to two Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

2001

Implementation of the new seven digit-numbering plan. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conducted a study on the BOCRA and declares it a best practice model for regulators and policy-makers to emulate.

2002

Study on the Pricing of Telecommunications Services in Botswana. ITU Secretary General Mr. Yoshio Untsumi officially opened the BOCRA Office.

2003

BTC was granted a fifteen (15) year licence. BOCRA issued Interconnection Guidelines and the first interconnection ruling between Botswana Telecommunication Corporation (BTC), Mascom Wireless and Orange Botswana.

2004

Study on Further Liberalisation of the Telecommunications market in Botswana that led to the August 2006 Minister’s pronouncement on the lifting of the restriction on the provision of VoIP by Value Added Network Service Providers and permission for mobile operators to self-provide transmission links.

2005

Installation of the Automated Frequency Management System (AFMS) which simplifies many of the responsibilities of radio Frequency Spectrum administration such as licensing, engineering analysis, frequency assignment and monitoring. Study on Cost Model and Pricing Framework for the Telecommunications Market in Botswana.

2006

Development of the Telephone and Draft Universal Service and Access Policy.

2007

Introduction of the Service Neutral Licensing Regime leading to the birth of the BTC mobile phone service arm - beMOBILE.

2008

Development of the Telecommunications Technical Specifications and Type Approval Procedures. Development of the Telephone Numbering Policy and the Spectrum Management Strategy.

2009

Official opening of the spectrum monitoring facility – The Spectrum House. Market study of the telecommunications sector in Botswana and the beginning of the Mobile Phone Sim-cards Registration requirement.

2010

Allocation of the Fixed Wireless Access Spectrum and the Development of a Cost Model and Pricing Framework for Communications Services in Botswana.

2011

Directive on the implementation of the Recommendations of the Cost Model and Pricing Framework for Communications Services in Botswana leading to the reduction of wholesale and retail tariffs.

Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) was established through the Communications Regulatory Authority Act, 2012 (CRA Act) on the 1st of April 2013 to regulate the communications sector in Botswana, comprising telecommunications, Internet and Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), radio communications, broadcasting, postal services and related matters.The CRA Act replaced the Broadcasting Act [Cap 72:04], the Telecommunications Act [Cap 72:03], and caused the amendment of the Postal Services Act to create a converged or an integrated regulatory authority for the communications industry. 

Mission

To regulate the Communications Sector for the promotion of Competition, Innovation, Consumer Protection and Universal access.

Vision

To have a connected and informed society.

Values

Tranparency

Our decision making will be open and informed by consultation with various stakeholders. We will embrace the diverse interests of our different stakeholders.

Consistency

We will ensure that our decisions are fair, predictable and dependable. We will be objective in our decision making and apply remedies that are proportionate.

People Centered

We believe that our people are indispensable assets who drive our success through their commitment to excellence. We shall therefore harness individual skill and strengths and work as one.

Innovation

We will continuously explore new ways in designing proactive regulatory interventions that will respond timeously and effectively to market demands and the latest technology trends.

Accountability

We are responsible for our actions and decisions, we take due care in the use of public resources and adhere to internationally acceptable governance principles.

Core Business

The BOCRA will take the lead in areas that drive the advancement of the communications industry. The Authority will in particular focus on its core business which includes:

  • Efficient management and use of radio frequency spectrum;
  • Licensing and monitoring of service providers;
  • Developing and promoting appropriate strategies and policies that encourage infrastructure development and use of ICT services;
  • Ensuring security and efficiency of telecommunications  networks; and
  • Comparative engagement and exchange with international telecommunication regulatory and standardisation bodies for global harmonisation and coordination.

In addressing the core business as set out above, the BOCRA has identified six (6) Key Result Areas which are:

  • Universal Access and Service;
  • Network Efficiency and Effectiveness;
  • Affordable ICT services;
  • A knowledge society;
  • Organisational Efficiency and Effectiveness; and
  • Globally Competitive Communications Sector.