Senegal’s Expresso under notice from regulator for licence b

Senegal’s Expresso under notice from regulator for licence breaches

22 February 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The telecoms regulator of Senegal has told Expresso Senegal to upgrade its mobile network to 4G and to activate its fixed network.

The Autorité des Régulation des Télécommunications et des Postes (ARTP) has given the company until the second week in March to abide by the conditions of its licence.

Abdoul Ly, the director general of ARTP, told Expresso’s acting CEO Rady Almamoun “to reactivate the fixed telephony in all its forms” by 9 March.

“After this period, the ARTP will be obliged to draw all the legal consequences,” said Ly in a written warning.

This is the second issue that the regulator has with Expresso Senegal, which says on its own website that it is owned by a Dubai company, whose own website is “under maintenance”.

The first dispute, which ARPT began in early February, is that Expresso is not investing enough — in particular, it does not yet operate a 4G network, unlike its competitors, Sonatel and Free, both of which began 4G services more than a year ago.

The regulator is threatening to fine Expresso the equivalent of US$12 million for its breach of licence conditions.

Expresso announced that it was going to launch 4G in March 2020, but then postponed the start of services. Its own website says: “To date Expresso Senegal has two technologies: GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS/WCDMA,” — in other words, 2G and 3G. There is no mention of 4G on its site.