Mali’s incumbent fixed line operator Société des Télécommunications du Mali (SOTELMA) has launched its first ADSL services in conjunction with Huawei Technologies, the company said in a statement. The service is initially available in the capital Bamako, Kayes, Ségou and Sikasso, but will be rolled out across SOTELMA’s entire network in phases. The telco has launched four tariffs, including a residential connection at download speeds of 128kbps for CFA1,000 (USD1.92) a day, or around USD58 a month, as well as 256kbps, 512kbps and 1Mbps connections targeted at business clients. All packages include a free modem plus e-mail accounts.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Mali’s internet market is in the early stages of development, with the bulk of access made via dial-up connections. The paucity of internet use was such that at the end of 2005, only six of the government’s 23 ministries had access to the web. In such a landscape broadband is still a very minor concern, but second national operator Ikatel is leading the way in the development of high speed services on a budget by deploying broadband fixed wireless access (BFWA) and WiMAX networks in the capital Bamako.