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ARTP gives Sonatel 48 hours to explain Viber, WhatsApp blocking

5 Mar 2015

Senegal’s telecoms watchdog the Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes (ARTP) has given national PTO Sonatel 48 hours to explain why it is blocking end user access to over-the-top (OTT) voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) services such as Viber, and beyond that, address the issue straight away. As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate earlier this week, Orange Group-backed Sonatel stands accused of ‘illegally’ blocking internet users from accessing free voice communications services from Viber and also messaging service WhatsApp. The PTO has so far remained tight-lipped on the subject amid concerns it is trying to protect its own switched call traffic revenues by effectively denying users access to alternative free IP-based alternatives.

As previously noted, the regulation of telecommunications services in Senegal is characterised by a ‘technology neutral’ approach. There is no specific legislation within the current telecoms law concerning VoIP and, as such, IP telephony is permitted, on the proviso that providers obtain a licence from the ARTP.

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