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Togocel targets 5G commercial rollout by 2025

Togo , 24 Nov 2020

Togocel has confirmed its aim to roll out 5G technology commercially by 2025. This after the country’s telecommunications industry regulator, ARCEP (The Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority), gave the operator the green light to test the technology.

Togocel is Togo’s largest operator with a subscriber base of over 3.5 million. The operator has been issued with a provisional licence to provide 5G “on full scale” according to authorities.

In 2019 Agou Holding consortium emerged as the majority shareholder of the operator after it acquired the government’s 51% stake in Togocel’s parent company Togocom.

The consortium said it is making significant investments in infrastructure, the development of expertise, and the improvement and contribution of new services within Togocom.

It is understood that 160-billion FCFA (approximately €245m) is earmarked for investment into the company by 2026, which will also be used to finance 5G plans.

When the government of Togo issued 4G licenses to Togocel and Moov in June 2018, it set a 4G coverage target of at least 40% by 2022.

Improved market performance

Togo’s telecommunications market has showed improvement in performance and market analysts suggest this could encourage operators to justify additional investments in 5G.

In November 2020, ARCEP’s report Evolution of Regulated Markets: Posts and Digital Communications, revealed that the duopoly of Togocel and Moov generated CFA159.5-billion in revenues in 2019, representing an increase of CFA 9-billion (6%) compared to 2018.

The report showed Togocel’s activity in the mobile service segment was bolstered by 10% and with more than CFA100-billion in turnover in 2019 (63% of the market value for mobile), Togocel remains the leader in mobile services in Togo.

The decision to issue a license for 5G testing to Togocel represents progress for the regulator that in May was forced to deal with conspiracy theories linking 5G with the COVID-19 pandemic.

ARCEP issued a statement at the time which reads: “This conspiracy theory is unfounded and completely false as noted by the WHO because it has no scientific basis and is biologically impossible… Renowned health experts have said there is no scientific credibility regarding the link between 5G and Covid-19. In Togo, following the dissemination of these videos, some individuals wanted to tackle installations made by mobile telephone operators.”

In October 2020, the regulator appointed Michel Yaovi Galley as Director General for a three-year term.

ARCEP has also recently issued warnings, in form of an antitrust order, to the mobile operators over what it described as unfair practices of making their on-network call-tariffs cheaper than off-network tariffs.

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