Senegal’s Sonatel moves ahead on 5G
Senegal’s largest telecommunications operator Sonatel has emerged as one of the latest operators in Africa to test 5G and has announced a partnership with Huawei to introduce the service.
At a 5G testing event, hosted recently held in the country’s capital city of Dakar, the operator presented findings to the country’s President Macky Sall.
Sekou Drame, CEO of Sonatel Group, said with 5G, the company will be able to improve the experience of its subscribers on its network.
Sonatel also used the event to demonstrate the telemedicine capability of its 5G network in Senegal. Dr Babacar Fall conducted the first remote consultation on a 5G network in Senegal.
"5G is a technological innovation which reinforces the telemedicine system. Today, it is possible for a doctor to be in Dakar and take care of a patient who is in a very remote area in Kedougou or Ziguinchor," said Dr Fall.
In November 2019, Senegal’s telecommunications regulator Regulatory Authority of Telecommunications and Post (ARTP) revealed that operators had not expressed interest in testing 5G.
According to ARTP, in March 2018 it invited the three operators in the country to test 5G in the form of pilot projects in the 700MHz bands and 26GHz frequency spectra.
“Under the terms of the letters, it was specified that the conditions and modalities for the implementation of these projects should be the subject of discussions with all the stakeholders. Not having received any expression of interest on this subject, no project was the subject of an exchange in order to agree on the conditions,” said Abdoul Ly, ARTP’s Director General.
However, the country’s 5G journey is now underway and it is expected to attract the attention of other operators.
While there is no specific date or details regarding commercial deployment of 5G, Sonatel suggested that testing may be ongoing for up to two years before it would be ready for nationwide deployment.