Hormuud (Growing Beyond Borders)

Elove Poetry By Elove Poetry, 10th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/16dzvhae/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Business

When I decided to visit Somalia with CNN as part of media tour, I did not think it would be so astounding about this mobile communication network…

Offices in Kismayo

Hormuud Telecom (HorTel), the giant and leading Telecommunications Service Provider (TSP) in Somalia, is growing fast and accommodating bounds beyond the embattled Somali borders. It offers fixed line, Global System for Mobile (GSM) and data services dominantly in central and southern Somalia.
Hormuud is privately owned by over 3000 Somali investors. So far, according to Abdullahi Hashi, Manager Lower Juba region, foreigners are not allowed but could be accepted if the top management agreed on letting in foreign investors.

Headquarters

Established in 2002, Hormuud subscriber base has increased tremendously owing to its quality services. That and the presence of foreign organizations like Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), humanitarian relief actors and United Nations, UNISOA in particular and recently African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops.
It is headquartered at HORTEL building in Mogadishu and employs over 4000 full and part time employees.
Hormuud’s main rivals are Golis Telecom Somalia which commands market in north-eastern Somalia in Puntland and Somaliland (rumoured to be the world’s cheapest mobile service provider at 0.20USD per minute international call rate), Telcom, Telesom and NationLink.

Effects of the War

Since the end of the hostilities and prevalence of relative tranquillity, Hormuud has picked up and is growing beyond Somalia borders covering the North Eastern province of Kenya; all the way from Mandera County in the north along the border towns down to the south-eastern part of the country.
It is among the networks that are found in Mandera besides Kenya’s Safaricom, Airtel, Essar’s YU and Orange Wireless.
In Mandera, Hormuud telecommunications mast is not in Kenya per se, it’s at the Somali border town, Bulla Xaawa (Xaawa pronounced haawa), which is practically astride the border, but it provides services to Mandera residents.
The whole expanse of the former Northern Frontier District has seen Hormuud augment mobile network available along the border towns – Fino, Lafey, Arabia, Damasa, Bulla Hache, Khorof Harar, Konton, Dobley, Liboi and Hulugho – up to around 20 – 30kms from the border. Generally, Safaricom and Airtel networks, which are mostly found but scarcely in these areas, are not as strong.

Communications installations are legitimate military targets according to the law of armed conflict thus during Operation Linda Nchi and incursion into Somalia most masts were bombed by either of the combatants paralysing communications for as long as the fighting lasted.
After the fall of the terrorists major financial hub into the hands of AMISOM troops relative stability has prevailed and that which was torn down is been rebuilt. Over the past few months, Hormuud technicians have been erecting more communication masts and installing communication boosters hence normality is resuming.
Hormuud has offices in Kenya border towns – Liboi, Dobley and Hulugho.
“In Liboi, Hormuud booster is installed on Safaricom mast, and in Hulugho Safaricom booster is on Hormuud mast,” says Abdullahi Hashi.
Therefore, due to the weak, and sometimes no, signals for home network in these areas Hormuud augments and supplements in communication.
Hormuud call rates are cheap, albeit On-Net and locally, charged on the US dollar. Local call rate is 0.10USD per minute, text message is 0.02USD but it’s expensive on international calls at 0.50USD per minute and 0.1USD per short message service (SMS).
“Once stability has been achieved we would like to have main branches in Kenya,” adds the manager. “We would like to grow like Safaricom.”
Safaricom, the leading mobile network in Kenya, so far has taken its mobile banking and money transfer service, M-Pesa, to international market, courtesy of the UK-based shareowner, Vodafone, that has 40% stake and management in Safaricom.
Hormuud has the same service, ZAAD, but it’s local. In 2010 it was threatened with closure by Al Shabaab who claimed that it was being used to channel funding to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) troops.
The ZAAD service is a mobile banking service, allowing customers to use their money for transfers, purchases, payment of bills, and airtime recharge. It facilitates sharing of airtime or credit with friends and family. It can be used for shopping as an alternative to carrying cash around, and for paying telephone bills over the mobile phone.
Another service is E-Voucher, an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD)-based credit transfer facility that enables On-Net credit transfer from individual accounts. This service replaces scratch-off cards which are more costly to keep and may be more vulnerable to theft or destruction, thereby necessitating greater security precautions on the retailer’s part. The E-voucher, by comparison, is more secure and quicker.
E-Voucher Plus, abbreviated as EVCPlus, is a service for upgrading the former E-VOUCHER. It replaced the traditional Scratch Cards and works similarly to the ZAAD Service as a mobile banking solution. However, transfer amounts are restricted to $300. Customers can recharge their phones using E-Voucher at the nearest sales agents or card retailers any amount up to $100.
In December 2012, Hormuud launched its Tri-Band 3G service for mobile and internet clients. The first of its kind in the country, this third generation mobile telecommunications technology offers users a faster and more secure connection.
Even though Hormuud has not been able to penetrate market in the greater Somalia – Puntland and Somaliland – it is growing fast beyond the borders. Soon, with market relations between Kenya and Somalia improving due to relative stability that is forestalled, residents of the former Northern Frontier District would be enjoying a variety of network services.

Tags

Hormuud, Somalia

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Comments

author avatar Trillionaire
12th Jul 2013 (#)

Very interesting article.

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author avatar Elove Poetry
13th Jul 2013 (#)

Thanks for reading, interesting indeed it is.

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