(Ecofin Agency) - The Senegalese telecom regulator announced last week it has imposed fines on the operators in the country for the poor quality of service. SAGA Holding (Free), one of them, opposed this decision.
In a note published the day after the penalty was announced, the telecom company raised concerns about the data on which the regulator based its assessment. "After it received the QoS audit pre-report, Free made some observations based on the methodology used in the document. We are still awaiting a response from Artp," the telco said, claiming to be "ahead of schedule concerning the obligations set out in its specifications, mainly on network coverage.
Free reported that it has invested more than CFA110 billion in its network since it was granted the 4G license in December 2018. The program to build and commission 400 new 2G, 3G, and 4G sites between 2019 and 2021 is 92% complete despite the health crisis; more than 50% of the site base has migrated from 3G to 4G, including more than 20% to 4G+ over the past two years. All sites still on 2G will migrate to at least 3G or even 4G by the end of the year. The construction of 500 new 2G, 3G and 4G sites planned for 2021 to 2025 is already underway.
The financial penalty that Free is opposing follows a campaign to measure the quality of service and coverage of the 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile networks handled by the operators - carried out in the 46 departments, on the main roads (RN1 to 7) and the Ila Touba and Dakar - Mbour highways - from August 16 to November 10.
Free considers the sanction to be counterproductive, as it is detrimental to the investment capacity of telecom operators, and has proposed that Artp adopts a pedagogical approach through which multi-year investment commitments will be supervised by the regulator via a protocol.