Following a rollout which began in April, Benin Telecoms has launched its commercial 4G LTE mobile network services under the Be.Telecoms banner, aiming to sign up individual customers as well as small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). The 1800MHz LTE network initially covers the capital Porto-Novo, largest city Cotonou, and nearby southern cities Ouidah, Abomey-Calavi and Alladah, while the operator indicated that 20 cities/towns will be within the commercial LTE footprint ‘in the coming months’, in announcements posted on its social media pages. In addition to the aforementioned cities, the Be.Telecoms 4G LTE coverage map shows an in-deployment footprint encompassing the following areas (roughly south to north): Hillacondji, Grand-Popo, Lokossa, Come, Abomey, Bohicon, Dassa-Zoume, Savalou, Save, Bante, Tchaourou, Parakou, Djougou, Natitingou, Kandi and Malanville.
At launch, Benin Telecoms is marketing 4G LTE Wi-Fi mobile routers from Huawei (E5372 and E5573) alongside USB dongle modems, office/home portable routers and 4G-compatible smartphones including the Huawei Ascend Y550 Android-based handset. 5GB and 10GB dongle packages cost XOF53,000 (USD85.50) and XOF60,000 per month respectively. ‘Unlimited’ data dongle packs are XOF65,000 for a month or XOF115,000 for three months. Other device bundles displayed online range up to XOF145,000 for a three-month unlimited home/office router package. Be.Telecoms LTE SIM cards provided in all packages are categorised for ‘4G data and voice’, and all packages include domestic calls over the 4G network via the ‘Chap’ mobile IP voice application (supported by Android and iOS smartphones); the calling rate to mobile networks is XOF1 per second, and XOF0.5 per second for calls to Benin Telecoms’ CDMA fixed-wireless lines. All packages also include unlimited messaging (text, picture and video) to other Be.Telecoms LTE subscribers. Furthermore, in a loyalty promotion, Benin Telecoms’ existing CDMA EV-DO-based wireless data subscribers benefit from a discount on the acquisition of terminal devices (mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, dongles, routers and smartphones), under a loyalty programme expiring in late January 2016.