Can Senegal consolidate ICT gains?

TELECOMS

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Can Senegal consolidate ICT gains?

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Dakar, Senegal

Senegal, a lower middle income country that spent an average of 10% of its GDP on ICT investments for four years in a row (2005 to 2008), overtaking the likes of South Africa, Kenya and Egypt, appears to be a telecommunications giant lurking in the shadow.

Senegal’s mobile base topped10.7 million at the end of June 2012, a performance that pushed its mobile penetration to 88% and its total internet subscriptions to 528 358, of which 18.1% were on ADSL and the rest on mobile accounts, according to figures released by the regulator, Agence de Régulation des Télécommunications et des Postes (ARTP).

Mobile broadband internet in Senegal, currently accounting for nearly 80% of the market from 28.5% in June 2011, is very popular and growing, reports say.

Apart from being second in sub-Saharan Africa in terms of teledensity in landline phones behind South Africa, Senegal was the fourth country in Africa behind South Africa, Nigeria and Tunisia to adopt the ADSL technology.

“For a country with very limited resources to perform like this, it’s heart-stopping and unexpectedly true,” Dakar-based IT consultant Birame Ndiaye told Biztechafrica this week.

“These figures clearly demonstrate the strong political interest of our leadership to invest in ICT, a field very critical for educational and socio-economic development of a country.”

“When they talk about ICT in Africa, the first countries that come to everybody’s mind are the top five economies, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Tunisia and Nigeria. Nobody even knows us, and knows where Senegal is located. That’s good because it helps us flourish in the shadow free of unnecessary pressures.

Ndiaye said he was hoping that the government of Macky Sall will keep Senegal’s ICT flame burning.

“His predecessors have done a lot, most importantly enacting policies that introduced reforms in the sector,” he said. “We’re watching him with an eagle’s eye.

A World Bank report titled Telecommunications SectorReforms in Senegal compiled by Jean-Paul Azam,  Tchétché N’Guessan and Magueye Dia said Senegal privatised its incumbent operator, Sonatel (Societé Nationale des Télécommunications du Sénégal) in 1997, granting it seven years of fixed-line exclusivity while introducing ‘managed competition’ in the cellular market and free competition in value-added services.

A new era consequently dawned in this West African nation of 13-million people.

BRVM-listed Sonatel, now partly owned by France Telecom, owns 2 200 km of fiber optic cables.

The company is also a co-owner of several submarine cables in the world, including the world’s longest underwater fiber optic SAT3/WASC/SAFE (28000 km-long), connecting Europe, Africa and Asia, inaugurated in Dakar in May 2002.

The company, which finally launched its IPTV service  over ADSL early this year, also co-owns Atlantis 2, the first optical system landing at Dakar that entered service in February 2000 between Senegal, Portugal, Spain, Cape Verde, Brazil and Argentina.

Senegal still has one of the lowest internet penetrations in Africa despite Sonatel boasting that it has one of the largest Internet bandwidths on the continent, with a capacity of 6.5 Gbits/s. Sonatel has a presence in Mali, Guinea Conakry and Guinea Bissau through its mobile arm, Orange.

Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye said African governments have a key role to play in the creation and consolidation of scientific and technological capabilities.

“The government can be both a catalyst and an inhibitor of development, and it should encourage the development of the ICT sector, while taking into consideration the realities of the country,” a Senegal telecoms report, published by the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington DC, points out.

“It should also work towards increasing access to the internet in households at advantageous prices.”

 



me - Dec. 10, 2012, 4:29 p.m.

Forward

Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE TELECOMS NEWS

Phase3 Telecom upgrades Adam Smith’s facility

Stanley Jegede Phase3 Telecom has upgraded its communications solutions offering to Adam Smith West Africa’s operations. Read More

Nokia devices account for 7m 3G devices, says MTN

Nokia handsets account for the majority of 3G devices on the MTN Nigeria network, the company says. Read More

Airtel Africa announces leadership changes in DRC, Niger

Bharti Airtel has announced the appointment of three key business leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Niger. Read More

BTCL shares to be floated in November

The Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTCL) Initial Public Offering, which has been in the pipeline for some time, has reached an advanced stage, says the government. Read More

Outsourcing of telecoms towers management a win-win situation - analysts

The sale of tower assets by African telecoms operators to independent management firms is a win-win situation, according to analysts, with operators benefitting from reduced costs and the buyers obtaining potentially valuable long-term assets.  Read More

Smartphones fail to break into DRC market

Despite harvesting an unprecedented success in other parts of the African continent, smartphones have failed to make any significant impact in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Read More

Zamtel, NEC in microwave transmission project

Dr Nobuhiro Endo, President at NEC Corporation, and Dr Mupanga Mwanakatwe, CEO  of Zamtel Zamtel and NEC Corporation have agreed to build a new digital microwave radio transmission network to boost mobile coverage and capacity across Zambia. Read More

Nokia, oRn partner for Rwanda’s first commercial LTE network

olleh Rwanda Networks (oRn), a joint venture between the Rwandan government and KT Corporation, has chosen Nokia Networks to provide network and managed services for the country’s first commercial LTE network. Read More

Murielle Lorilloux is Vodacom Congo new MD

Murielle Lorilloux, a French citizen and former Orascom Algeria marketing director, has been appointed as the new managing-director (MD) of Vodacom Congo. Read More

Africell DRC’s star performance makes headlines

Africell is the darling of the media in DRC on the back of winning five million subscribers in under two years. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

MFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmersMFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmers

Ugandan smallholder farmers are benefitting from an ambitious innovative ICT mobile phone initiative that offers weather reports and up-to-date market information about changes in prices for agricultural commodities, thus granting them lucrative returns from their farming ventures. 

IN DEPTH

NIG President speaks his mindNIG President speaks his mind

Bayo Banjo, CEO, Disc Communications and President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) says the proposed licensing of infrastructure companies by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) will breed corruption and entrench monopolistic practices. Kokumo Goodie reports.

COMPANY NEWS

SAP innovation transforms how Governments conduct business

SAP Africa kicked off its public sector innovation roadshow in Johannesburg, to highlight how the SAP innovation solutions portfolio including, cloud and big data, supports all levels ...