Senegalese mobile network operators (MNOs) Tigo and Expresso Telecom have opened talks with the country’s telecoms regulator the Regulation Authority of Post and Telecoms (Autorite de Regulation des Telecoms et des Postes, ARTP) to secure 4G operating licences. The move comes hard on the heels of the recent award of a next generation concession to Sonatel – operator of the Orange brand in the country.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last week ARTP confirmed the renewal of the operating licences of state-owned fixed and mobile operator Sonatel, for a total consideration of XOF100 billion (USD171 million), including the ‘extension of its scope’ to offer 4G. ARTP said that under Article 23 of Law No. 2011-01 of 24 February 2011 on Telecommunications Code, it is renewing the operating concessions of the telco for fixed, 2G and 3G services for a period of 17 years – starting 8 August 2017 – while also licensing mobile arm Orange to offer 4G LTE for a similar period, from the date of the award. According to the regulator, Sonatel will pay XOF32 billion for the 4G licence which comprises 10MHz of spectrum at 1800MHz and 10MHz in the 800MHz band. The operator is obliged to begin marketing 4G within two months of the frequency assignment date – i.e. August. Sonatel (Orange) is required to provide coverage of 70% in five years (up from a 65% stipulation previously) and 85% to 90% in ten years. The ARTP also notes that it has removed rights to use the 700MHz band and trimmed the duration of the operating licence from the original 20-year term it had proposed.