Hormuud Telecoms has driven economic growth by providing vital infrastructure for Somali people

2022 marks the twentieth anniversary of the founding of Hormuud Telecom, Somalia’s largest broadband and telecommunications provider. In 2002, Somalia was just emerging from a protracted civil war. Hormuud Telecoms was established in the heart of Mogadishu, with a group of small shareholders and just 16 telecommunication sites. Twenty years on, the company continues to see exponential growth, driven by one core purpose: to deliver products and services that bring value to customers and improve the lives of the communities they serve and support.

Now, Hormuud is the largest private employer in the country, with over 800 customer service centres in both urban and rural Somalia, and operations in South and Central Somalia. The company has creating over 30,000 jobs and employing around 20,000 full and part time staff, of whom around 45% are engineers.

Improving access for a better-connected Somalia

Emerging from instability, re-establishing infrastructure was crucial to rebuilding Somalia. The launch of fixed line services in 2002, achieved a nationwide phoneline services for businesses, consumers, government offices, and institutions. This was made possible by the installation of over 600 masts that run across Somalia.

As a locally grown company, Hormuud understands Somali market better than any other actor. It has championed products that specifically cater to a population of which 73% are below the poverty line and 2.6 million are internally displaced. To connect the hardest-to-reach Somali’s, the Global System for Mobile (GSM) was launched, bringing mobiles to Somalia and Somalia’s telecoms onto the same playing field as their international counterparts. Utilising pay-as-you-use recharge vouchers/scratch cards, Hormuud were able to maximise accessibility for Somalis. Moreover, collect call services (launched in 2016), can reverse the charge of the call onto the receiving caller and make critical calls in times of need, without bearing the cost.

Mobile marked Hormuud’s humble beginnings. By 2014, the enterprise expanded to broadband and later a swath of tech products that have transformed Somalia’s economy.

Innovative products for Somali people and businesses
As the security landscape continues to improve in Somalia, demand has been created for fixed broadband internet services by businesses and aid agencies that set up offices in Somalia. Hormuud’s Enterprise Internet services established in 2014 rose to meet this demand, in the same year that the IMF estimated economic activity to have expanded by 3.7 percent.

With economy, business and access to education burgeoning in Somalia, mobile penetration has risen to 51%, and SMS is now key to mass-communication with employees and students. Hormuud’s My SMS has helped this possible, through a bulk messaging service that is both fast and cost-effective.

In 2002, just 0.12 per cent of Somalis were connected to the internet, now in 2021 internet users stand at 1.95 million. This has been driven in part by Hormuud Hotspot, launched in 2013, a high-speed secure Wi-Fi broadband internet accessible at public places and is now commonplace in educational institutes across the country and lies the heart of urban centres. ADSL Plus, available from 2014 following upgrades to internet capacity, then enabled the delivery of high speed fixed/home broadband services to households in Somalia via a customer’s telephone line.

However, in nation who are estimated to be 80% nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists, it was necessary to expand coverage to Somali people on the go. Hormuud’s Mifi router enables portable wireless connection and can connect to multiple smartphones, tablets or laptops and today offers 4G internet. Further bringing Somalia onto the grid to cement growth in key sectors such as agriculture, construction and telecoms.

Hormuud CEO and Chairman Ahmed Mohammed Yuusuf said: “Somalia is a nation with great promise, and it has been Hormuud’s mission to ensure that connectivity drives forward prosperity and stability. From laying essential infrastructure to designing products that meet the needs of Somali people, Hormuud has always been committed to supporting a new generation of entrepreneurship, enterprise and growth. This will encourage a sustainable economy that is better connected and propel country forward.”

Creating connections with the rest of the world
Recent years have seen Somalia and its diaspora community take its place on the international stage. With over 100 million Somali’s now living abroad, Hormuud has risen to challenge keep them connected to those at home, with an international roaming network of 300 networks.

Hormuud helps also to facilitate remittance flows back into the country. 40% of households are in receipt of remittances from family members abroad. Through the integration of EVC Plus, their flagship mobile money product used by 3 million Somalis, into Money Transfer Businesses (MTB), MTBs can directly deposit money to their clients’ mobile money accounts. Several Money Transfer Businesses are already connected with the EVC Plus such as Bakaal and Tawakal amongst others.

As Hormuud marks its 20th anniversary next year, the company is committed to continuing its mission to bring value to customers and improve the lives of the communities they serve and support through innovative products. Not least in its pledge to realise nationwide 4G coverage by 2023.