Senegal’s telecoms regulator L’Autorite de Regulation des Telecoms et des Postes (ARTP) has extended the testing phase of 4G services by a further three months until 31 March 2015, Ecofin Fides reports. The trials were launched by Sonatel (Orange) in October 2013 and Tigo Senegal on 3 December last year, and the extension means that users will be able to enjoy free ultra-high speed mobile broadband for another twelve weeks or so. ARTP did not give any reason for the decision to extend the trial phase, although its announcement will be welcome news to Expresso Telecom (Senegal) – the only company yet to launch a 4G pilot.
ARTP says that once the trials are complete, it expects all three mobile operators to submit detailed assessments on the quality of service (QoS) achieved. The government is basing its decision on how best to commercialise 4G, and on granting licences to existing operators or new entrants, on QoS and ability to deliver national coverage.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, 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 more than 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 added the city of Touba to its 4G footprint. Meanwhile, 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.