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History of Communication Regulation

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.