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Senegal government to revoke Sentel GSM’s licence

31 Oct 2008

Global telecommunications provider Millicom International Cellular (MIC) yesterday announced that the government of the Republic of Senegal has informed it of its intention to revoke the GSM licence held by its local mobile unit Sentel GSM effective 31 October 2008. Sentel GSM which operates in Senegal under the Tigo brand, has approximately 1.8 million active subscribers and represents less than 5% of MIC’s worldwide revenues, and less than 3% of its EBITDA for the nine months ended September 2008, MIC said in its statement.

The Senegalese unit was granted a 20-year licence by a former administration in 1998, prior to the enactment in of Senegal’s Telecommunications Act in 2002. Since then the incumbent governments have acknowledged the validity of Sentel GSM’s concession, but have repeatedly requested that it renegotiate the terms of the licence. Although Sentel would be willing to comply with the state, a stumbling block is the cellco’s insistence that any renegotiation include enhancements to the licence – such as the rights to offer 3G voice and data services. In the wake of the government’s ultimatum, MIC has restated its commitment to seek an amicable compromise but confirmed it is also considering its legal options in the light of the government’s statement.

Senegal, Free Senegal

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