Senegal’s Sonatel-Orange, Tigo, a Millicom subsidiary and Expresso, a Sudatel subsidiary have been awarded with test 4G technology licences by the country’s telecom regulator ARTP.
The temporary licences will allow them to test 4G technology in the country until the end of the year free of charge.
After the tests, the firm will submit reports on the viability of the service in the country. The regulator will then award the firms full 4G licences according to their territorial coverage and quality of service.Orange-Sonatel told Agence Ecofin it would cover Dakar initially with the 4G technology then extend to the rest of the country later.
Being rolled across the continent, 4G is expected to deliver wonders especially with the influx of smartphones however, so operators still see several challenges to the roll-out in Africa. Adhish Kulkarni, Chief Marketing Officer at Lumata, a telco-oriented mobile marketing firm with operations in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, and Madagascar notes that 4G poses a couple of challenges for African mobile operators.
Kulkarni says, “One of these is that users have little disposable income, so the ability to recoup 4G rollout costs is limited compared to that in other markets. Another is that African users typically hold a number of subscriber identity modules (SIMs) and switch operators on a regular basis in order to save money.”
He forecasts African mobile operators could win out by offering cloud services that allow users to store data cost effectively and at the same time tie them into a given provider than 4G.