Mobile customers gain access to 3G technology in Mogadishu

By Adnan Hussein in Mogadishu

January 07, 2013

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Hormuud Telecom Somalia has expanded its third generation (3G) mobile network service in Mogadishu to provide faster internet access to subscribers using web-enabled phones and laptops.

  • The Hormuud Telecom customer service office in Mogadishu bustles with customers on a recent day. [File/Sabahi]

    The Hormuud Telecom customer service office in Mogadishu bustles with customers on a recent day. [File/Sabahi]

  • USB modems allow computers to access the internet using Hormuud's 3G network. [File/Sabahi]

    USB modems allow computers to access the internet using Hormuud's 3G network. [File/Sabahi]

The service was previously available in some parts of northern Somalia, but this is the first time a company is embarking on nationwide service. Hormuud's 3G network will be available in Mogadishu initially and will expand to other major cities in southern Somalia within one year.

For Somalia, which in 2000 was one of the last African nations to connect to the internet, this is an important development.

Announcing the service at the Shamo Hotel on December 29th, Hormuud chairman Ahmed Mohamud Yusuf spoke about the importance of the new technology to society. "This new service will provide high speed internet which will benefit students to learn, academics to research and the entire public to connect to the world through multimedia platform," he said.

Hormuud marketing director Abdihakim Hassan Idow said more than 150,000 customers in Mogadishu signed up for the 3G service, which offers access on cellular devices to streaming audio and video content, video chat and high-speed data transfer.

Hormuud was the first company to provide mobile internet access in 2011, and the introduction of 3G service provides faster access and improves on the previous technology.

"Our company offers customers services that include mobile money transfers and USB modems for broadband access in certain African and Arab countries," Idow told Sabahi. "We expect this service to meet the high demand for internet access of students, journalists, ministries, relief agencies, medical institutions, universities, private companies, offices and for conference [venues]."

Idow said Hormuud sells USB modems for about $50, which can still be a high price for Somalis, who are using the internet with increasing frequency.

He said the number of 3G subscriptions continues to rise and he expects the technology to eventually dominate the local market.

"The 3G technology is faster than ADSL and is unique in that it allows internet access in any place with mobile network coverage, making it the only option for those on the run," he said. ADSL, or asymmetric digital subscriber line technology, provides internet access via telephone lines.

Somalia's internet market

Economist Samira Mohamed Waeys said Somalia's internet market is experiencing competition among several telecommunications companies, including Telesom, SomTel, Golis, Telecom Somalia, NationLink Somalia, Global Internet Company and Hormuud Telecom.

Waeys told Sabahi that launching 3G service allows users in Mogadishu to browse websites at speeds as high as one megabyte per second in the city and its outskirts. The faster service will improve the flow information into the city and open up the capital to the world, she said.

Farhan Ahmed Abdullahi, an information technology specialist, said that despite the development of 3G, Somalia is still behind the times, as telecommunications companies in Europe and Japan are experimenting with fourth generation (4G) technologies. While 3G can transfer data at many megabytes per second, 4G can reach 1 gigabyte per second.

"Somalia will recover and develop regardless of such problems as violence, infighting and damage resulting from terrorism, which has destroyed the country's infrastructure," he told Sabahi. The expansion of 3G service by Hormuud, which now has a customer base of 5 million users, shows Somalia's ability to quickly adapt and adopt new technologies, he said.

Mariam Amine Ahmed, a retired journalist, said the introduction of mobile wireless may encourage broadband providers to lower their costs to stay competitive.

"The internet permeates all areas of our daily life," she told Sabahi. "For this reason, we call on the competing service providers to lower costs for wireless and Ethernet access, especially since the entry of 3G to the wireless broadband market."

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Reader's Comments

  • amiinwdani
    August 15, 2013 @ 02:06:45AM

    very nice i want to know can i get in somalia any internet 3g that.have data bandles like to change ur airtime by mbites and hw many mbites wil be 1$ thanks

  • cabdale
    June 24, 2013 @ 11:53:21PM

    Hormuud is the communication network which has been working day and night for our country, and I would like to get more information on how to access the 3 G network from anyone who has used it.

  • wasame ahmed
    April 6, 2013 @ 08:48:45AM

    Somcable will launch its service to most of Somaliland cities this summer. And that will be a game changer as it using a fiber optic cable from the red sea. And it’s much cheaper than satellite internet that is currently being used. So Somali landers will experience the real internet. Hope it will reach the rest of the country very soon.

  • essa omar wasuga
    February 22, 2013 @ 01:58:54PM

    pleas we need mobile roaming plaes anabile because I have hormuud sim card not working saudi arabia so be sure you can do thanks

  • toosane
    February 13, 2013 @ 02:25:57AM

    I am happy that this development was achieved by our country with the help of the Hormuud communication company.

  • Toosane
    February 13, 2013 @ 02:22:33AM

    That good news and Technology Development in Somalia.

  • dr. Esat Ertekin
    January 23, 2013 @ 03:52:44PM

    yes, today the modem bought a very nice, hormuud I congratulate you.

  • dr abdi
    January 17, 2013 @ 04:41:29PM

    yes but still he isnot faster DSL.unable to downl. programs

  • NTEMANYA
    January 16, 2013 @ 01:30:46AM

    I HAD NEVER READ SABAHI TODAY WAS MY FIRST TIME I HAVE LIKED IT AND ITS STAND AGAINST AL-SHABAAB

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