Senegal’s telecoms regulator L’Autorite de Regulation des Telecoms et des Postes (ARTP) has warned the country’s mobile operators that they must not levy any charges on people using their pilot 4G services. The watchdog’s announcement came after Tigo Senegal launched its own trials this week, joining Sonatel (Orange Senegal’s) own tests which were carried out in October 2013. Tigo’s pilot is due to last until 31 December 2014 but ARTP director general Abdou Karim Sall, has reminded all Senegalese incumbent cellcos that they must comply with a requirement not to charge for 4G under the trials, or face the consequences. Tigo’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) trials are taking place in the capital Dakar, targeted around the areas of Yoff, Almades, Fann Residence, the University, Dakar-Plateau, Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre, Diamniadio and the city of Touba.
Orange Senegal launched its 4G network trials on the back of a USD240 million investment programme to expand and upgrade its overall network capacity. To date, it has deployed 40 4G sites in Dakar and Saly, and has plans to add more towns and cities in future. In its most recent expansion, the carrier has added the ‘holy’ city of Touba to its 4G footprint in time for the upcoming religious festival there. In order to cater for an anticipated upsurge in data traffic, Orange Senegal has a total of 255 base stations at 104 sites across the city, of which 64 are capable of supporting 3.5G services – up 15% year-on-year – while total network capacity has been increased by more than a third.