Communications in Senegal

Communications in Senegal

Sonatel, Senegal’s telecommunications operator, continues to dominate the market. Sonatel was privatized in 1997 with France Telecom, as the strategic partner. Liberalization of some services accompanied privatization. Two companies now provide cellular telephone 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. Cellular service has grown significantly since its introduction in the late 1990s. These last few years have witnessed the spectacular growth of mobile telephony with 3,434,000 subscribers in 2007 and 1,537,000 respectively in 2005. [ Senegal Country Commercial Guide 2008] . U.S. Commercial Service (2008). PD-notice] There are currently two cellular companies: the former “Alizé,” now “Orange” owned by Sonatel, and “Tigo/Sentel,” 75 percent owned by Millicom International Cellular. Orange has roughly two thirds of the cellular market, but Tigol is rapidly gaining market share. In November 2007 a third mobile license was awarded to Sudan's Sudatel for USD 200 million The license also permits Sudatel to offer fixed line telephony and internet service (for which Sonatel currently has a monopoly). An independent regulatory agency for the telecommunications sector – the Agency for Telecommunications and Postal Regulation (ARTP) - was created in early 2002. Besides regulating providers of telecommunications services, the Agency assigns and controls spectrum. The long-awaited telecommunications sector deregulation became effective in July 2004, with the release of a sectoral letter that outlines the IT policy for the coming years. Telecommunications entrepreneurs who had hoped for a sweeping deregulation will be facing a regime of guided deregulation instead. Internet service is widely available in Dakar and other towns either for private subscription or through Senegal’s extensive network of “telecentres” and Internet cafes. The ADSL broadband subscriber base is growing rapidly, though the penetration rate is less than 1 percent.

In 2007, sales generated by the telecommunications sector accounted for more than 7 percent of the GDP. Senegal has an excellent telecommunications infrastructure, which is digitized. The country has around 278,000 landlines for 11.9 million inhabitants.

The Government wants Senegal to be a haven for teleprocessing services, with its advantageous geographic position, relatively good telecommunications infrastructure and relatively low wages. A number of joint ventures call centers and the telemarketing businesses have sprung up, most of them servicing the French market.

International calls to most countries can be dialed directly. The country code for Senegal is 221. Since October 2007, Senegal has changed its numbering system. The numbers 33, 76 and 77 have to be added when dialing a fixed line (33) or a cellular line - 76 for Orange and 77 for Tigo.

Cable, telex, fax, Internet services are available. The Internet penetration rate is low (0.19 percent). A number of cyber cafés are located in Dakar and other cities.

Telephones - main lines in use:224,600 (2002)

Telephones - mobile cellular:3,210,000(2007)

Telephone system:
"domestic:"general assessment: good systemdomestic: above-average urban system; microwave radio relay, coaxial cable and fiber-optic cable in trunk systeminternational: country code - 221; 4 submarine cables; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:AM 8, FM 20, shortwave 1 (2001)

Radios:1.24 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations:1 (1997)

Televisions:361,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):761 (2002)

Country code (Top level domain): SN


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