The introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) in Senegal moved a step closer this week with the announcement that following a public consultation, its full implementation could take place in September 2013. According to Agence Ecofin, local mobile operator Sudatel Senegal (Expresso) and a number of lobby groups are spearheading the plan, with the former having requested that national telecoms regulator, the Agence de Regulation des Telecoms et Postes (ARTP), implement MNP swiftly under the remit of Article 87 of the new Telecommunications Code (2011).
In response, ARTP coordinator Mor Mbaye is quoted by Le Soleil newspaper as saying that the ‘regulatory lever’ of MNP is indeed aimed at boosting competition in the domestic market and is long overdue. Mbaye noted that Senegal has been considering the introduction of number portability since it commissioned an in-depth technical and economic study on it in 2005. At the time, however, it was decided that the market was not mature enough for MNP as the sector lacked sufficient competition and geographic network coverage to foster subscriber growth, meaning that cellular penetration rates were still relatively low. However, that has since changed and by the end of March 2013 TeleGeography notes that the three incumbents – Orange, Tigo and Expresso – had collectively signed up almost 11.75 million subscribers, while mobile penetration had reached 89.6% compared to the regional average of 73.9%.