(Ecofin Agency) - The efforts recently initiated by the Senegalese telecom regulator to ensure that operators offer consumers quality service have not paid off. With the telcos not complying with its measures, the regulator decided to crack down on them.
Senegal’s Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Posts (Artp) has sanctioned Sonatel, Expresso, and SAGA Holding (Free) for the poor quality of service. They receive a total of 20,284,286,957 FCFA (about $35 million) in fine. In detail, Sonatel will face 16,727,712,422 FCFA, excluding taxes, while Expresso will pay 1,028,466,443 FCFA and Free (SAGA Holding) 2,528,108,092 FCFA.
Artp says it came up with the sanctions after a broad campaign to measure the quality of service and coverage of mobile networks 2G, 3G, and 4G showed some irregularities. The survey, conducted from August 16 to November 10, covered the 46 departments, the main roads namely RN1 to 7, and highways Ila Touba and Dakar – Mbour. Since 2020, the regulator has been paying more attention to the quality of telecom services as demand for connectivity has continued to grow. The number of Internet subscribers rose from 13,141,900 as of June 30, 2020, to 15,418,058 as of June 30, 2021. Voice traffic increased from 2.30 billion minutes on June 30, 2020, to 2.71 billion minutes on June 30, 2021.
The regulator has multiplied actions to force telecom operators to meet quality standards, including formal notices or an app to test the Internet speed by consumers. It stresses that the penalty imposed on the three telecom operators aligns with "the provisions of Law No. 2018-28 of December 12, 2018, on the Electronic Communications Code."