ICT

Burundi has started to target the EU markets and investors who are interested in Burundi’s ICT and broadcasting market in order to move from analogue to digital broadcasting.

The Ministry of Telecommunications, ICT and Parliament Relations has  ongoing projects such as the fibre-optic cable project, Bujumbura broadband network project, and migration from analogue to digital broadcasting project.

The Ministry aim, with regard to the first two mentioned projects, is to increase access to internet throughout Burundi in order to support business and investment growth. The fibre-optic cable project as off October 2013 was 55% completed, and has received around 65% financing from the Government. This fibre-optic cable project will not only cover the capital Bujumbura, but will as well cover the 17 provinces and the country’s borders with Rwanda and Tanzania and will connect Burundi to international fibre-optic cables for the first time thus ending its dependency on satellite connections.

The migration from analogue to digital broadcasting project as of October 2013 had just finished its technical feasibility study and the implementation of the digital broadcasting network is planned to be finished by 31 March 2014. Analogue switch off is to be implemented phase by phase, however the total analogue broadcasting switch off is planned for 31 December 2014.

Telecoms

The telecommunications sector in Burundi has, due to the opening of the sector to foreign companies, experienced big investment and growth.

Since this industry opened up in the 2000s, licenses have been  granted to new telecommunication and internet service companies such as Africell, Spacetel (Econet), CBINET, USAN Burundi, ONATEL (Onamob) and Leo (U-Com).

Since 2008, further licenses have been granted to foreign companies such as HITS Telecom a joint venture Uganda–Saudi Arabia, and Lacelle SU (Smart Mobile) a Nepalese company.

Mobile subscribers have increased in Burundi from just 270,000 subscribers in 2007 to 2,240,000 subscribers in 2012. Apart from mobile communication companies, Burundi has as well fixed telephone lines operator which caters greatly to 90% of the population that live in rural areas where the network coverage is weak. To date there is only one land line operator namely ONATEL.

Media

Since 1984, the national television of Burundi (RTNB), owned by the Government, has been providing the country with broadcasting services. Up to the late 90s it was the only television station available in the whole country.  However since then Pay TV operators have been introduced to the market for example Tele 10, DSTV, Star Times.

In addition Burundian non paying TV stations e.g.  TV Renaissance, TV Salama, Heritage TV, Rema TV have been also introduced.

The launch of the National System of Satellite Communication and Broadcast in the Republic of Belarus planned in mid 2015 will see Burundi receive a full range of satellite services from this system, services such as cable network video content delivery, broadband internet connection etc.