Senegal’s three mobile network operators are all expected to have rolled out pilot 4G mobile networks by the end of this year, as they shift focus to meet pent up demand for data and value added services (VAS), and jostle for position in an increasingly competitive local market, Reuters writes without citing its sources. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in October this year Orange Senegal – the wholly owned subsidiary of Senegalese incumbent Sonatel – launched its 4G network trials in the country, with managing director, Mr Sud Quotidien, quoted at the time as saying that its fourth-generation network will be able to support data transmission rates ‘in excess of 100Mbps or greater than 1Gbps’. Orange Senegal’s pilot covers four zones in Dakar and Saly, a tourist centre south-east of the capital.
Also in October, Sonatel rivals Tigo, a subsidiary of Millicom International Cellular (MIC), and Sudatel Senegal (Expresso), were granted temporary authorisations by the Telecommunications and Post Regulatory Authority (L’Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes, ARTP), to carry out their own 4G trials over the period to 31 December 2014. Both are now expected to roll out their own pilot trials in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, in a separate development Agence Ecofin writes that last weekend, Tigo Senegal carried out a test launch of a 3.5G mobile network based on HSPA+ technology and capable of delivering maximum download speeds of 21Mbps. In September this year, Tigo announced that it has invested more than XOF50 billion (USD100.5 million) in expanding and improving its network. The cellco says that the expenditure has boosted 3G and 3.5G coverage in Dakar and in the central regions of the country. More than 300 telecoms sites have been upgraded in recent years, and improvements are earmarked for 177 new areas in 14 regions.