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Swaziland

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Basics Edit

Swaziland, officially the Kingdom of Eswatini; sometimes called kaNgwane or Eswatini, is a sovereign state in Southern Africa, neighboured by Mozambique and South Africa. It's a landlocked country of 17,000 km2 and 1.2 million inhabitants.

Swaziland is one of the last countries in the world to abolish an almost complete monopoly in all sectors of its telecommunications market. Until 2011 the state-owned posts and telecommunications operator SPTC also acted as the industry regulator and had a stake in the country’s sole mobile network, in an uneasy partnership with South Africa’s MTN. So up to now only one network provider is operating:

  • MTN Swaziland
  • (Swazi Mobile - to be launched in summer 2017)

A new independent regulatory authority was established in 2013 and has since embarked on radical changes to the telecom sector. SPTC temporarily entered the mobile market independently, but was challenged about this by MTN in the courts and had to close down again. Now Swaziland has released a second mobile license to locally owned Swazi Mobile in 2017.

Note that very few operators actually offer international roaming in Swaziland. Not even all South African providers, but only MTN for a surcharge. As Swaziland is landlocked, the country depends on neighbouring countries for international fibre bandwidth. This means that access pricing was high for many years, though prices have fallen more recently in line with greater bandwidth availability resulting from several new submarine fibre-optic cable systems, that have reached the region in recent years.

The currency given in this article is lilangeni (plural: emalangeni, code SZL), the national currency of Swaziland. It's pegged 1:1 to the South African rand (ZAR).

MTN Swaziland Edit

MTN

Up to 2017 MTN Swaziland, also called MTN Swazi, is the only provider in the country. It has a quite good coverage up to 4G/LTE at rather high prices. That's why many local people complain about rates higher than in South Africa.

2G is up to EDGE on 900 MHz, 3G started in 2011 on 2100 MHz and 4G/LTE was added in 2014 on 1800 MHz (band 3).

Availability Edit

Finding a SIM card in Swaziland is about the equivalent of looking for a taco in Mexico. They are sold in MTN stores (list) and everywhere for about SZL 10 without credit. Prepaid is called PayAsYouGo like in the UK.

Top-ups Edit

So you need to top-up at the start. MTN vouchers can be bought from most major retail stores across the country in the form of scratch cards or till slips. Each voucher has a unique PIN code printed on it. In order to load the indicated amount of MTN airtime onto your phone, simply dial *141*<voucher PIN>#.

To check balance dial *556# or *557#.

Data feature packages Edit

Out-of-bundle rate is SZL 1.14 per MB. All of their bundles are valid for 30 days:

Data Price
2 MB SZL 2.10
5 MB SZL 4.99
10 MB SZL 9.75
50 MB SZL 39
75 MB SZL 49
150 MB SZL 89
300 MB SZL 149
500 MB SZL 229
1.5 GB SZL 399
2.5 GB SZL 699
3.5 GB SZL 849
5 GB SZL 1149
7 GB SZL 1499
10 GB SZL 1999

For activation dial *686*1# and select your bundle. There are two other ways:

  • MTN DataShare: allows you to share data bundles with another MTN customer. To do so, dial *565*<bundle size>*<number>#. You can share up to 30 MB per day.
  • Me2UData: allows you to buy internet bundles for another MTN customer. To do so, dial *567*<number>*<bundle size>#​ and a message will be sent notifying that he or she has received a bundle from you.​

International roaming Edit

MTN has introduced "Roam like Home" in South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda (all on MTN), Lesotho and Zimbabwe (Econet) and Botswana (Mascom). To activate, dial *170# and choose option 1. Data is charged at SZL 2 per MB using these networks.

More infomation Edit

Swazi Mobile (to be started in 2017) Edit

Swazi mobile

Newly licensed operator Swazi Mobile will break the monopoly of MTN in the country and is expected to share tower infrastructure with incumbent MTN Swaziland. The operator expects to launch 2G, 3G and 4G services simultaneously in July 2017 and has disclosed plans to invest SZL 600 million (US$ 44.8 million) in its networks over the course of the next five years.

The newcomer is headed by local tycoon Victor Gamedze and was awarded a concession in December 2016, fending off competition from locally-owned SDnet and international providers Viettel and Orange. Swazi Mobile seeks to sell a 33.3% stake on the Swaziland Stock Market later this year.

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