Television stations: 1 state-owned TV station; government controls most private broadcast media; satellite TV subscription service available; transmissions of multiple international broadcasters are available (2008).
Main lines: 43,100 lines in use, 168th in the world (2012).
Mobile cellular: 1.3 million lines, 153rd in the world (2012).
Telephone system: Rudimentary system consisting of a modest number of landlines, a small microwave radio relay system, and a small radiotelephone communication system; privatized in 2001, Telecom Lesotho was tasked with providing an additional 50,000 fixed-line connections within five years, a target not met; mobile-cellular service dominates the market and is expanding with a subscribership of roughly 65 per 100 persons in 2011; rural services are scant (2011).
Vodacom Lesotho started operating in 1996 with the Government of Lesotho as a shareholder through its stake in Lesotho Telecommunications Corporation. When the Government of Lesotho began its privatisation process in 1999, it invited bids for this share in Vodacom Lesotho. In July 2000, Sekha-Metsi Consortium, a group of local business people and public figures, was announced as the successful bidder. Sekha-Metsi now holds a 12% share in Vodacom Lesotho with the remaining share held by Vodacom Group. In 2008 Vodacom Lesotho introduced its new partnership with Vodafone.
There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms without judicial oversight. The Internet is not widely available and almost nonexistent in rural areas due to the lack of communications infrastructure and high cost of access.
The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech, so long as they do not interfere with "defense, public safety, public order, public morality, or public health". The government generally respects this right. An independent press, effective judiciary, and functioning democratic political system combine generally to promote freedom of the press; however, harassment of journalists and self-censorship persist. The law prohibits expressions of hatred or contempt for any person because of the person’s race, ethnic affiliation, gender, disability, or color.
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