Senegal’s Regulation Authority for Telecommunications and Posts (ARTP) announced that it had “provisionally” awarded Sonatel (Orange Senegal) a 5G license, following the conclusion of a call for tenders to extend the scope of existing operating concessions.

The regulator revealed that Sonatel had bid XOF34.5 billion (US$59.1 million) for the authorization, while its rivals Free and Expresso had submitted significantly lower bids of XAF3 billion and XAF2 billion, respectively, far below the reserve price of XAF19.5 billion established by the ARTP.

ARTP Director General Abdou Karim Sall explained that the main objective of the call for tenders was to select an operator capable of providing reliable and efficient 5G infrastructure as soon as possible in order to meet the growing demand for connectivity and communication in Senegal.

The advent of 5G in Senegal should, among other things, make it possible to meet growing consumer demand for broadband connectivity and new digital consumption patterns resulting, in particular, from COVID-19. Ultra-broadband will facilitate e-learning, e-government, 3D videos, telemedicine, virtual and augmented reality, streaming, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The amendment to Sonatel’s concession agreement and specifications, including new 5G coverage obligations, will be signed soon.

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