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 services 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.
In line with this, the Authority has prepared the ground for regulation of postal services by putting in place regulatory instruments and tools that allows ease of market entry and supports innovation for the provision of varied postal service offerings. These regulatory instruments include among others, the Postal Sector Licensing Framework to guide the provision of postal services in the country and Licence Application Requirements for licensing of courier service providers.
Current Market Structure
The Botswana postal market comprises of two main categories of postal services which include the following:
i. Ordinary Mail Services or Universal Postal Services: These are mail services provided nation-wide, under the same conditions for all citizens and customers and delivered into the P.O. Box. These services are only provided by the Designated Public Postal Operator.
ii. Courier Services or Value-added Services: These are services provided on a commercial basis and delivered directly to the addressee. These services are mainly provided by courier service providers. However, the Designated Public Postal Operator can also provide these services on a commercial basis.
Licensing of Postal Operators
The licensing framework for the Postal Sector in Botswana comprises of two licence categories as outlined below:
i. Public Postal Operator Licence: This licence is issued to only one postal service provider, designated by the Minister responsible for the Communication Sector. The licence is valid for a period of fifteen (15) years and may be renewed upon expiry of the 15-year licence period. The current Designated Public Postal Operator is Botswana Postal Services Limited.
ii. Commercial Postal Operator Licence: This licence is issued to operators providing courier services or value-added services. Application for Commercial Postal Operator licence is open at any time and there is no limit on the number of operators to be licensed. The licence is valid for a period of ten (10) years and may be renewed upon expiry of the 10-year licence period.
Designation of a Public Postal Operator
Pursuant to Section 67 of the CRA Act, the Minister responsible for Communications shall, on the recommendation of the Authority 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.