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Senegal to license third mobile operator

7 Aug 2006

According to reports from Telecom Paper, the Senegalese government is preparing to issue a licence to the country’s third mobile network operator. Senegal will shortly issue application documents for the concession, which would allow a new entrant to operate mobile as well as fixed and internet services following recent changes in the country’s telecoms legislation. The announcement has been made by the Minister for Telecommunications Joseph Ndong. The newcomer will join incumbent cellcos, Sonatel Mobiles (Alizé) and Millicom-backed Tigo (formerly SENTELgsm).

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Senegal was home to almost 1.94 million mobile users at the end of March 2006, up from 1.28 million the previous year and 1.12 million in December 2004. Much of the growth has been attributed to Tigo’s aggressive marketing and promotional campaigns, which have prompted its sole rival Alizé to cut prices itself. For a long time Alizé, which launched the country’s first GSM network in April 1996, enjoyed little or no competition, but this all changed in 2005 when the newly re-branded Tigo emerged as a viable competitor. In the twelve months to December 2005 Tigo added 340,000 subscribers compared to Alizé’s 269,000, and was also first to introduce GPRS (in November 2005) – beating its rival to launch by a full month.

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