(Ecofin Agency) - In December 2022, Abdoul Ly, then Director General of the telecom regulator ARTP, announced that 5G would be launched in Senegal in 2023. His statement was later affirmed by his successor, Abdou Karim Sall, in April.
On Wednesday, May 31, Senegal’s telecom regulator ARTP issued a call for applications for 5G licenses. The regulator is thus keeping its promise to launch commercial ultra-broadband in the country in 2023. Interested investors must submit their applications by July 14.
In its statement, the regulator indicates that only companies incorporated under local law can apply. They should also have a valid license authorizing them to establish and operate a network open to the public and to provide electronic communications services as of the application submission date.
The launch of 5G is part of the Senegalese government's drive "to strengthen very high-speed connectivity and digital use in the country", in line with the Digital Economy Acceleration Project (PAEN), funded by the World Bank to the tune of $150 million.
In Senegal, telecom operators were preparing for 5G since 2020. In December 2021, SONATEL confirmed its ability to deliver ultra-broadband, with a second successful test. Its rival Free launched an experimental phase in June 2022, with the technical support of Swedish tech group Ericsson. In July 2022, Orange also opened a 5G laboratory in the country.
The ultra-broadband technology is particularly expected to help meet the population’s growing need for broadband connectivity and new digital consumption patterns stemming in particular from Covid-19. It should also guarantee greater revenues for telecom companies and the State.
Isaac K. Kassouwi