Senegal has been growing steadily in recent years, with over 5% growth of GDP in 2015. The telecom market has benefited from this positive trend, particularly in the mobile sector. Orange’s Sonatel is the dominant player in both the fixed-line and mobile sectors, though other mobile phone companies are fierce competitors. Broadband services in Senegal are relatively advanced, and a range of IP-based services including broadband TV (IPTV) and converged triple-play services are offered.
The Internet penetration rate was 45% in 2016. There is a generally reliable urban system with a fiber-optic network. About two-thirds of all fixed-line connections in the country are in the capital, Dakar. Mobile-cellular service is steadily displacing fixed-line service, even in urban areas. Recent licensing developments will help propel the LTE sector. Mobile penetration reached about 117% by mid-2016.
Competition in the fixed-line sector was introduced in 2009. Although the licensing of new operators has not always been transparent in Senegal, the mobile market has prospered, helped in part by poor fixed-line infrastructure in some rural areas. A range of value-added services is available to subscribers, including mobile broadband access, which has become by far the dominant internet platform. Broadband services in Senegal are relatively advanced, and a range of IP-based services including broadband TV (IPTV) and converged triple-play services are offered. The Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Posts (ARTP) is the official regulator of the telecommunications sector in Senegal.
Senegal’s economy is driven by mining, construction, tourism, fisheries and agriculture, which is the primary source of employment in rural areas. Senegal relies heavily on donor assistance, remittances and foreign direct investment. For the first time in the past twelve years, Senegal reached a growth rate of 6.5% in 2015 and surpassed 6.6% in 2016, due in part to a buoyant performance in agriculture because of higher rainfall and productivity in the sector.
Electricity supply is a chief constraint for Senegal’s development. Electricity prices in Senegal are among the highest in the world. Recent gas discoveries on the Senegal-Mauritanian border, as well as just south of Dakar, will help alleviate some of the energy shortages.
Sonatel (Société Nationale des Télécommunications du Senegal) is the main telecoms provider of Senegal. The company is active in fixed line telephony, mobile telephony, internet service, television and corporate telecommunications. The company is involved in the construction of fiber optics networks in Africa and manages 2,200 kilometers of fiber cable in Senegal and is also present in neighboring Mali. The headquarters of the company are located in Dakar.