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Senegal has an excellent telecommunications infrastructure, which is digitized. Sonatel, Senegal’s main telecommunications operator continues to dominate the market, representing about 6% of the country’s GDP. It is now trading under France Telecom's Orange brand following its partial privatization in 1997. Liberalization of some services accompanied privatization. Sonatel has one of the most efficient telecom networks in West Africa, offering some of the lowest retail and wholesale prices in the region. It is also the market leader in the mobile sector which it has shared with Millicom's Sentel GSM (later re-branded Tigo) since 1999.Three companies now provide mobile services, and there is a competitive Internet services market. As a result, there has been a boom of Internet-related activities and services and in cell phone usage.

Licenses & Regulations

The country's telecommunications regulator is Agence de Regulation des Telecoms et Postes (ARTP) that operates under the supervision of Ministry of Finance and Telecommunications. ARTP’s mission is to provide a regulatory framework to encourage competition in the telecommunications sector in the country.

Fixed Lines

Competition in the fixed-line sector was introduced when Sudan's Sudatel launched as the second national operator (SNO), after Sonatel, in early 2009 under the name Expresso. Its license also includes the country's third mobile concession and the new entrant has chosen CDMA2000 technology to serve both market segments.

In the fixed line segment, ARTP said the number of lines in service dipped from 285,774 to 260,493 in the year to 31 March 2008, a teledensity of less than three lines per 100 of population. Residential lines accounted for 66.9% of national PTO Sonatel's total, while business connections made up 28.2% and public payphones 4.9%. The residential fixed line base dipped 3,085 in the first quarter of this year, although this was partially offset by a 13.96% rise (9,464 lines) in business connections to 77,281.


Senegal has three main mobile operators Orange, Tigo and Sudatel, with Orange holding the largest market share, followed by Tigo. In June 2009, the country had 6.28 million mobile subscribers in total, or a 51.6% penetration rate. This number reached 7.820 million in 2010.

In 2010, the Ministry of Finance and Telecommunications granted an operating license to a fourth company, Globacom operating under the brand name Glo1. The license will enable the telecommunications giant to offer world class telecommunication services to the government and people of Senegal. The Senegalese license will also allow Globacom to land its gigantic trans-Atlantic submarine cable, Glo 1 in the West African country with opportunities to extend the infrastructure to Mali. It will also give Globacom the right to carry traffic for major operators, the government and wholesale customers.

Mobile Operators

Average Revenue per User (ARPU)

Although mobile market penetration has passed the 50% mark, the average revenue per user in Senegal is relatively high. However, the ARPU levels for the mentioned operators are not available.


Internet service is widely available in Dakar and other towns either for private subscription or through Senegal’s extensive network of “telecenters” and Internet cafes. The ADSL broadband subscriber base is growing rapidly, though the penetration rate is less than 1 percent. In 2002, the number of ISPs reached 761.

The number of internet users reached 1,020,000 in 2009 forming a penetration rate of 7.4%. In that same year, the number of broadband internet subscribers reached 47,400 which is a penetration rate of 0.3%.

A wide range of value-added services is available to subscribers, including mobile Internet access. Third generation mobile broadband services are being rolled out. Development of the Internet market has been 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 the country are relatively advanced, including broadband TV and converged triple-play services. Sonatel has progressively reduced its prices following the arrival of a second international fibre optic submarine cable in 2007, with at least two more scheduled for 2010 and 2011.

Key Figures

  • Number of main lines in use: 237,800 (2008)
  • Number of mobile subscribers: 7,820,000 (2010)
  • Number of internet users: 1,020,000 (Jun. 2009)
  • Number of ISPs: 761 (2002)
  • Number of Internet hosts: 227 (2009)
  • Broadband internet subscribers: 47,400 (2009)
  • Mobile penetration rate: 51.6% (2009)
  • Internet penetration rate: 7.4% (2009)

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