Senegal awards Free its 5G licence

Senegal awards Free its 5G licence

Senegal’s telecoms regulator awarded its second 5G licence to Saga Africa Holdings with the company paying XOF13.5 billion (US$22.5 million).

Saga Africa Holdings operates the Free brand in Senegal and it acquired 90MHz of 3,500MHz spectrum.

The company secures its 5G licence five months after Sonatel (Orange Senegal) bagged its one for XOF34.5 billion. 

Free and fellow rival Expresso had submitted bids in the same tender five months ago for XOF3 billion and XOF2 billion respectively - not meeting the reserve price of XOF19.5 billion set by l’Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications et des Postes (ARTP). 

ARTP director general Abdou Karim Sall said in a press conference yesterday (Dec 18) the regulator negotiated with other operators “to allow them, depending on the means at their disposal, to be eligible for 5G”, with costs determined by quantity and quality of the frequencies awarded.

He added Sonatel had acquired a total of XOF34.5 billion to gain 10MHz in the more expensive 700MHz band and five additional blocks of frequencies. 

Sonatel will launch a pilot 5G service in February, with a commercial launch expected in May, according to the ARTP.

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