Telecommunications in Senegal

Telecommunications in Senegal

Senegal has an excellent telecommunications infrastructure, which is digitized. Sonatel, Senegal’s main telecommunications operator, continues to dominate the market. It 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.

In 2007, sales generated by the telecommunications sector accounted for more than 7 percent of the GDP. 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. The country has around 278,000 landlines for 11.9 million inhabitants. In addition, cable, telex, fax and 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.[1]



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.

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.[1]


There are currently three cellular companies: the former Alizé, now Orange owned by Sonatel, Tigo/Sentel, 75 percent owned by Millicom International Cellular, and Expresso/Sudatel. Orange has roughly two thirds of the cellular market, but Tigo is rapidly gaining market share. In November 2007 the third mobile license was awarded to Sudan's Sudatel for $200 million. The license also permits Sudatel to offer fixed line telephony and internet service (for which Sonatel had a monopoly).[1][2]

International calls to most countries can be dialed directly. The country code for Senegal is 221. Senegal's numbering system is as follows:[2]

Numbers beginning with Fixed/Mobile Company
30 fixed Expresso/Sudatel
33 fixed Sonatel
70 mobile Expresso/Sudatel
76 mobile Sentel (Tigo)
77 mobile Sonatel (Orange)

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

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

Telephone system: general assessment: good system

domestic: above-average urban system; microwave radio relay, coaxial cable and fiber-optic cable in trunk system

international: country code – 221; 4 submarine cables; satellite earth station – 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio and television

Radiodiffusion Télévision Sénégalaise and 2sTV are the two main TV channels.

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

Radios: 1.24 million (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997)

Televisions: 361,000 (1997)

Senegal is also a popular destination for Amateur Radio operators from Western and European points of origin who participate in "DXpeditions". A "DXpedition" is essentially a holiday planned by the participants for the purpose of making contacts around the world for other Amateur Radio enthusiasts. These short duration trips also help to promote interest in the radio sports among the local population that might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience radio communications for recreational and experimental purposes. More information may be obtained through the American Radio Relay League at (K4YZ)


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.[1]

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 761 (2002)

Country code (Top level domain): SN


  1. ^ a b c d Senegal Country Commercial Guide 2008. U.S. Commercial Service (2008).  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ a b Communication from the Senegalese regulator (ARTP) to the ITU, retrieved 2010-10-01.

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