Somalia has one of the lowest prices for internet data bundles. It also has the fastest internet connection in the Eastern African region at a relatively low cost. In Somalia, most internet users rely on the internet for entertainment and access to the daily news.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the internet a valuable tool in Somalia. Most of the important offices in the country and educational institutions resorted to carrying out their activities online. Office meetings and classes had no choice but to switch to Zoom, Google Classrooms, and other online applications. The switch brought an unexpected burden on the Internet Service Providers who received new customers who rarely used the internet.
Somalia’s leading Internet Service Provider, Hormuud Telecom, played a lead role during the pandemic. It started to reduce the cost of internet bundles, ensure their availability and increase the bandwidth, and the biggest reason was to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Benefits of the reduced internet bundle prices for users
After universities and colleges made online classes compulsory for online tutorials and recorded sessions necessitating the need for bigger internet bundles with great connection speed, Hormuud reduced the cost of fixed internet bundles (Adsl) by more than 33 percent while (Mobile internet) data bundles were decreased by 50 percent for students. Ordinarily, Hormuud charges 30 USD for unlimited home broadband for 30 days, but this has been reduced to 20 USD for students. At the same time, 1 GB of mobile internet is charged at 1 USD while it comes at half a dollar for students. Through this initiative by Somalia’s leading Telecom, students can access high-speed and cheap internet data bundles.
For Mohamed Hassan, a student was left worried after it became compulsory for him, like many other students, to switch to online classes. He was worried that he couldn’t afford the money to stay online for a very long time.
“Hormuud relieved me of a pain that was making him sleepless,” said, Maxamed. “It was a big encouragement and key for me to continue with my studies.”
The news of Hormuud reducing the cost of internet data bundles by 30 percent for students couldn’t have come at a better time for Maryam Hussein Guleid, who said it was the encouragement she needed for her to continue with her studies. “Not only do I use the Hormuud internet for online classes, but it is also now easier to spend a lot of time learning more than before,” said Maryan.
While Hormuud intended to help students benefit from this initiative, others can also benefit, including relatives, friends, and fellow students, when a user opens the WiFi, which means many can access the internet at a low cost.
Educational material available on the internet
The internet has a wealth of material as one will be able to get books in a simplified format in a video tutorial. This makes it easy for learners to benefit from the initiative. Students who are in session can drive a lot of benefits out of the internet. The internet is not only used during these times of pandemic, but it is a resource one can get a lot of educational materials that one may not even find in a classroom setting at low cost. Students need to use it not only for entertainment and accessing new but also for information. For example, a student can learn via video tutorial the same lesson he took in-person class setting. One can also get lessons to supplement your classes. All this will increase your knowledge at a meager cost.
The Future of the Internet in Somalia
The internet has a big prospect in Somalia. Despite the opportunity, there are challenges, mainly due to the limited income of people in Somalia. The internet access cost in Somalia significantly went down after Hormuud became the leading Internet Service Provider in Somalia.
“Our primary objective is every person living in Somalia has to access internet service with good connectivity at a low cost,” said Abdullahi Hassan, Head of ISP at Hormuud.
The need for internet services will grow over the years as many jobs will hugely be tied to it. This means Internet Service Providers will have to match these needs with the capacity to provide internet services that can cater to these needs.