Senegal’s telecoms industry watchdog, l’Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes (ARTP), has published its quarterly report on the development of fixed and mobile telecoms services in the country for the period October-December 2014. According to its findings, the total number of fixed telephone lines in service continued a downward trend in the three-month period under review, to a total of 311,945 lines at end-2014, compared to 317,653 main lines in service at 30 September 2014. ARTP attributed the fall mainly to an ongoing decline in residential connections (down 6,000 to 241,153 lines) and fewer public phone booths, which resulted in an annual decline of 9.2%, taking fixed teledensity to 2.31% at the year end. The watchdog also noted that the volume of fixed telephony calls fell to an estimated 22.50 million monthly call minutes in October-December, down from 23.94 million minutes in July-September. Incumbent PTO Sonatel (Orange) commanded the lion’s share of the market at that date, with 91.1% of all lines in service, while second national operator Expresso saw its share of the pie fall 0.38% quarter-on-quarter to account for the remainder.
In the mobile segment, ARTP said the country was home to more than 14.379 million mobile connections at the end of 2014, an increase of 0.19% when compared to the third quarter, with the growth by and large attributable to Orange, which saw its user base climb 1.61% q-o-q to 8.097 million. Second-placed Tigo Senegal reported a decline in users in the fourth quarter to 3.377 million from 3.471 million, while number three player Expresso closed out 2014 with 2.904 million mobile lines, down from 2.912 million at end-September. ARTP reported that the total volume of mobile calls in the quarter reached around 44.4 million minutes – down 3.2% from 3Q14 – while the total volume of SMS traffic was estimated at 407.55 million texts sent during the quarter, a 14.3% decrease y-o-y. Based on the regulator’s findings, cellular penetration stood at 106.45% at the year end, down 0.21 percentage points from September, of which 99.35% were pre-paid lines.
Turning finally to the internet sector, ARTP said there were a total of 6.858 million fixed and mobile (i.e. GPRS/3G) connections at the end of 2014, up 60.5% from 2.294 million in December 2013, but noted that in the fourth quarter of last year growth stalled to just 2.7% as the market appeared to reach saturation level. Mobile internet accounted for 93.9%, or 6.441 million, connections at the year end, while ADSL took just 1.5% (103,362) and dial-up an even smaller share – 17,754 users. Although it does not provide a breakdown by technology, ARTP said that Orange controlled 65.08% of the internet market at 31 December, ahead of Tigo (23.79%) and Expresso (11.12%).