Somaliland telecoms minister protests about Somalia’s new telecoms law

Somaliland telecoms minister protests about Somalia’s new telecoms law

The breakaway north-east African state of Somaliland is claiming that neighbouring Somalia is trying to assert authority over its telecoms sector through a new law.

Somalia passed a new telecoms law last week. The National Communications Act is designed to regulate the country’s telecoms sector, but Somaliland’s telecoms minister, Mustafa Farah Abrar, is claiming that seeks to control its industry too.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after Somali military dictator Siad Barre was overthrown. However Somaliland’s independence has little international recognition, leaving global and business relations in limbo.

According to Somaliland newspaper The National, Abrar has held a press conference refuting the claims of his opposite number in Somalia, Abdi Anshur Hassan.

“We are warning you and your government to stop interfering in our internal affairs,” said Abrar, quoted in The National.

The issue could affect Telesom, Somtel and Somcable, the three biggest operators in Somaliland. Somcable runs a terrestrial fibre network covering 1,200km in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Somaliland. Somtel has 3G and 4G mobile services in both Somalia and Somaliland. Telesom appears to operate solely in Somaliland.

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