Telecom sector now accounting for almost 11% of GDP
This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Senegal's telecommunications market.
Subjects covered include:
Key statistics; Market and industry overviews; The impact of the global economic crisis; Government policies affecting the telecoms industry; Market liberalisation and regulatory environment; Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband); Telecoms operators privatisation, acquisitions, new licences; Consolidation in the mobile sector; Infrastructure development; Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G; Average Revenue per User; Internet and broadband development and growth; Broadband and mobile data services and pricing trends; Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile); The emergence of m-payment and m-banking services.
Senegal has benefited from solid economic growth since the 1990s. This has translated into consistent growth in the telecom market, with the dominant player Sonatel, part-owned by France Telecom and branded as Orange, receiving effective competition from a small number of operators, particularly in the mobile services sector.
Sonatel manages one of the most efficient telecom networks in West Africa and offers some of the lowest retail and wholesale prices in the region, although they are still high by global standards. The company is also the market leader in the mobile sector which it has shared with Millicom's Sentel GSM (later rebranded Tigo) since 1999.
Competition in the fixed-line sector was introduced when Sudan's Sudatel launched as the second national operator (SNO) in 2009 under the name Expresso. Its licence also includes the country's third mobile concession. The new entrant initially chose CDMA2000 technology to serve both market segments but switched to GSM technology in 2010, including 3G/HSPA mobile broadband.
The licensing of new operators has not always been transparent in Senegal, with the licences of both Sentel and Sudatel were awarded under controversial circumstances. Sentel settled a four-year licence dispute with the government in August 2012.
Mobile market penetration reached about 85% in mid-2013, and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is relatively high. A wide range of value-added services is available to subscribers, including mobile broadband access, which has become by far the dominant internet access platform.
Development of the internet market until 2007 was hampered by Sonatel's monopolistic pricing of bandwidth on the only high-capacity international submarine fibre optic cable serving the country. Despite this, broadband services in Senegal are relatively advanced, and a range of IP-based services including broadband TV (IPTV) and converged triple-play services are offered. Sonatel has progressively reduced its prices following the arrival of several competing international fibre optic submarine cables.
Mobile market penetration approaching 100%; 1,600 cell towers for sale; 3G mobile broadband represents 70% of all internet connections; Competition in international fibre bandwidth to boost broadband market; Mobile licence dispute settled after four years; Sonatel pilots LTE services; Sonatel's Orange Money service now has some 1,250,000 registered customers, with cross-border interoperability between Senegal, Mali and the Ivory Coast having considerably improved service functionality. Sonatel Group reports an 11% growth in revenue in 2013; Sonatel signs agreement to provide free 1Mb/s internet services to schools; Sonatel announces plans to sell its domestic 1,600 mobile tower portfolio; Report contains the regulator's market data to December 2013, operator data to 2013 and market developments to April 2014.
Estimated market penetration rates in Senegal's telecoms sector end-2013 Market | Penetration rate Mobile | 89% Fixed | 2.6% Internet | 20% (Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)