Briefing Paper

Low Internet Penetration Despite 90% 3G Coverage in Lesotho

Lesotho has the lowest broadband penetration despite extensive 3G and some 4G coverage. About 70% of Lesotho resident have never used the Internet. The low level of Internet use is attributed to high mobile telecommunication services and products. Using the pricing information collected by RIA, Lesotho is ranked position 35th out 49 countries in both the 1GB data and voice/SMS (OECD basket) prices. The cost of 1GB data in Lesotho is eight time the cost of 1GB data in the performing country, Egypt. Among 15 SADC countries, prices in Lesotho are average. The country performs better than Botswana and Swaziland in terms of the cheapest 1GB data index. However, when compared with the bestperforming countries, the cost of the cheapest 1GB data in Lesotho is enough to buy 4 GB of data in Tanzania and Madagascar, it is also enough to buy 2GB of data in Madagascar and 1.5 GB of data in Namibia. Even if prices are cost-based they will not be affordable for many Basotho.