Togo’s 3rd mobile operator to be disclosed in 2015
By Issa Sikiti da Silva, Togo
The identity of Togo’s third mobile operator will only be made public in 2015, the government in this tiny West African nation said.
Cina Lawson, Togolese minister of post and digital economy, confirmed on Thursday that a tender was launched in June this year and that a decision is only expected next year.
She was speaking at the 2nd edition of a youth business forum held in the capital Lomé.
“Potential candidates have until January 2015 to apply,” she said.
Lawson said she was hopeful that the entry of a third cellphone operator will help improve telephone and internet networks in this country of about six million people.
Togo is currently being served by two players, Togo Cellulaire (a subsidiary of government-controlled Togo Telecom) and Moov, a company owned by United Arab Emirates-owned Etisalat.
"When I took over this ministry, one of my goals was to work hard to bring down the prices. And we have just done that between 2010 and 2014, lowering the prices by more than 30%,” Lawson said.
“We can do better that, that's why we launched the third licence procedure.
With increased competition, prices will fall and they will go down because there will be a short-term price competition," she said.
However, despite this decrease, independent analysts believe Togo's mobile prices, especially data, remain the highest in West Africa.
Furthermore, Lawson also called for the quality of services to improve. Price decrease must go hand in hand with quality, she insisted.
Despite its small, impoverished population, many analysts have been calling for the state to bring in another mobile operator, arguing that the country's sector can be taken to another level if improvements can made to telecommunications infrastructure.
Togo’s mobile market generated revenue of about US$275 million in 2013, and this is expected to grow at about 7% over the next five years, to $363m in 2018, driven largely on data demand and improvement to infrastructure, according to a Togo Intelligence Report published in February 2014.