The Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA), which provides oversight for communications technologies in the country, has released a document detailing retail internet prices in the country.
BOCRA regulates the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) such as Orange, Mascom and the government controlled BTC Mobile, as well as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who provide fixed line coverage. That means they tell them what they can and can not do according to the powers vested on them by our laws and parliament.
From the document released, there are 21 retail ISPs in the country, 3 being Mobile operators, 3 offering VSAT services for remote areas, 5 offering fibre connections and the rest offering primarily ADSL.
Without counting VSAT (for special cases) and the Mobile operators (multiple capped packages), the cheapest way to access the internet is at P110 per month for a 512Kbps line. 512Kbps is a speed that you would have been delighted with 5 years ago on your Nokia or Motorola phone before touch screens came about.
A decent internet speed is a 4Mbps line. This allows you to browse the internet at a fast pace getting projects and work done effectively, as well for basic entertainment such as watching videos on YouTube and browsing social media. These lines cost between P600-P900 per month.
Internet for Business
4Mbps is also a fair starting speed for some ICT professionals and students. The challenge with most of these packages is the contention ratio. Where you see a ratio indicated (such as 4:1, or 6:1) then that means you are sharing that line with those many people. A contention ration of 4:1 means that 3 other people in your area have the same line as you; so if you all have 4Mbps lines and are all using the internet equally at full capacity, then each of you will only be able to access 1Mbps. If you do not want to share, then dedicated lines are very expensive (P3000 – P6000 a month for a 4Mbit line!)
If internet based services or support is your core service, or if you use cloud applications in a business, or if you are in the media industry always watching videos at 1080p of 4k and downloading and uploading large files, then you will have to pay a dear price for internet. Just set aside an arm and a leg for a 2-3 year contract paying P5000+ for your internet.
Get a Mascom MySurf for your uncapped browsing at P595 per month, limited to 4Mbps. An Orange Konnecta gives you 20GB (plus 20GB free) for P599, which is better for the times you need real fast connections, but it is capped. You can also take your laptop and grab a coffee at places with excellent internet such as Masa Hotel, Avani and Cresta Hotels for those times you need to download and upload massive files.
Netflix can chill!
There is a lot of talk of Netflix this, Netflix that. Prices are expensive, Netflix can chill! Cene Media does have a parntership with Kwese that gives you access to Netflix. WeTruth be told, only a handful of people will be able to access Netflix to stream content at it’s best quality in this country as it costs P1999 per month on a 10Mbps line. The hopes of being able to ditch the thousand pula DSTv line for a competitive internet is still a pipe dream. For now however, we hope you will be able to chill with your MySocial or AllMyFriends bundles.
Internet is a luxury in Botswana
It is 2018, and it still seems to be that internet is a luxury in Botswana, and along with it knowledge, information and opportunities. It is reserved for a privelaged few. If you read this post, then you are amongst the privelaged. When will we have access to #InternetForAll?
Talk To Us
What’s your experience of using internet in Botswana? How much do you pay to access the internet and are you happy with the performance and the prices? What alternative ways do you go about accessing the internet? Should data prices fall? Let us know your thoughts. Talk To Us.
(Please note that these are the latest prices received from BOCRA (June 2018). The prices may have been changed with the ISPs at the time of publishing. Download the pricelist here: BOCRA_Internet_Prices_2018)