In Senegal three networks are operating:
- Orange (by Sonatel)
- Tigo (by Sentel GSM)
Orange is the biggest provider with more than 1/2 of the users. Tigo and Expresso fight for the 2nd position with 21-23%. 99% of all users in Senegal are on a prepaid plan.
In 2017 three MVNOs have been licensed in Senegal and are expected to be launched soon: You Mobile on Orange network, Sirius on Tigo and Origines on Expresso.
2G/GSM is mostly on 900 MHz and some 1800 MHz, 3G/UMTS is on 2100 MHz. Licenses for 4G/LTE have been given out in 2016 on 800 and 1800 MHz to Orange, other providers are to follow. All providers are testing in Dakar, but not haven't launched comercially yet.
In 2015 Senegal’s network coverage leaves much to be desired. Even in Dakar a large part of the population are still without effective coverage: The population not covered by a 3G network in Dakar is 27% for Orange, 47% for Tigo and 52% for Expresso. In Senegal’s 45 administrative departments, in addition to poor 2G coverage, only Orange has a 3G network in each department, with Tigo covering just 12 and Expresso having no 3G coverage at all outside of Dakar, Saint Louis, Thies, Fatick, Kaolock, Tambacounda and Diourbe.
Since 2013 all SIM cards officially are required to be registered and you even have to give a fingerprint. Purchasing a SIM card in a store, be prepared to show an ID, but when you buy it on the street it's often not necessary. This regulation is now being strictly enforced after a slow start. All undocumented SIM cards, that's more than 5 million, have been suspended and shut off in December 2016 by the regulator.
Orange in Senegal is owned by the mobile department of Sonatel. This is the old state telco which was privatized in 1997. France Télécom is their strategic partner and from 2006 on it has used their Orange brand.
They are the biggest operator with 55% of all mobile customers in 2016, best coverage and reasonable speeds. For travelling through the country, it should be your first choice. But they have higher prices than their competitors.
In 2016 Orange received licenses for 4G/LTE on 800 and 1800 MHz (Bands 3 and 20). The operator is obliged to begin marketing 4G within two months of the frequency assignment date and required to provide coverage of 70% in 5 years and 85-90% in 10 years.
In 2018 Orange announced that it now covers all major cities of Senegal with its 4G/LTE network and that by October all regional capitals and most populated cities will have access to mobile broadband. During the first half of 2018 Orange strengthened its LTE coverage in Dakar and commissioned 4G sites in Porokhane, Medina, Gounass, Sokone, Darou, Mousty, Popenguine and Velingara. Additional 4G sites will be set up in Kedougou, Kidira, Mbour, Louga, Kolda, Bignona, Kaffrine, Fatick and Sedhiou in October, while Orange will also strengthen LTE coverage in Ziguinchor and Touba. The population coverage of 4G was about 50% at the end of 2018.
The SIM card that they call puce is sold on the streets or in an boutique or agence Orange for 1000 F with the same credit on it. To activate, they need to link a ID number to it.
The prepaid line is marketed under the name diamono and you get a 100% bonus for your first top-up. You can top-up in all Orange Money outlets, kiosks and Sonatel stores or at the international Orange top-up site http://topup.orange.com/.
Data feature packages Edit
For data you need to purchase a package that is called Pass Internet. They are available by volume and time:
- Volume-based packages:
|50 MB||24 hours||250 F|
|200 MB||24 hours||500 F|
|300 MB||7 days||1000 F|
|1 GB||7 days||2500 F|
|2.5 GB||30 days||5000 F|
|7 GB||30 days||10000 F|
|15 GB||30 days||19000 F|
|25 GB||30 days||25000 F|
For activation type #1234#.
- Time-based packages:
- 30 minutes for 1 day: 250 F
- 1 hour for 1 day: 400 F
- 3 hours for 7 days: 1,000 F
- 1 day: 1,000 F, max: 3 GB
- 1 week: 5,000 F, max. 5 GB
- 1 month: 19,000 F, max. 10 GB
- 1 month, 25,000 F, max. 20 GB
All packages come with free Facebook, not debited from your data volume. To activate type #1234# or online on http://www.passorange.sn.
More info Edit
- APN: internet
- Website in French: http://www.orange.sn
Tigo is run by Sentel GSM, a subsidiary of Millicom. It used to be the 3rd operator, but overtook Expresso in 2013/4. They now have 23% of national customers on their network. Note that their 3G+ is only available in Dakar and 6 further towns (3G coverage map). 4G/LTE is still in pilot phase (4G map).
Their starter pack called puce or TIGO classique costs 1000 XOF with the same credit on valid for 7 days. It's available on the streets and at their agencies (list) and outlets. For activation, your passport number needs to be registered. So better go to an agency.
You can recharge at many outposts by e-load or vouchers of 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 or 10000 XOF.
Data feature packsEdit
For data you need to add packages, that are called Forfaits internet:
|1 day =
|20 MB||100 XOF|
|75 MB||250 XOF|
|250 MB||500 XOF|
|3 GB||1,000 XOF|
|7 days||150 MB||500 XOF|
|350 MB||1,000 XOF|
|1.5 GB||2,500 XOF|
|30 days||50 MB / day||3,000 XOF|
|3 GB||5,000 XOF|
|7.5 GB||10,000 XOF|
|20 GB||19,000 XOF|
|30 GB||25,000 XOF|
Activation for all packages is by #100# and choose the package you want.
- APN: web.tigo.sn /or/ web.sentel.com
- Website in French: www.tigo.sn
Expresso is owned by Sudatel, started in 2007 and was passed over by Tigo in 2013 as 2nd provider. They now care for 22% of all subscribers. Like Tigo, their network is not as good as Orange's. 3G can only be found in Dakar and a few other towns (3G coverage map, 2G coverage map).
Its service has proven to be not so reliable and you should make a network check before purchase.
Expresso SIM card costs 2000 XOF and comes with the same credit in Expresso shops (list) and agencies. Mini-SIM (2FF) and micro-SIM (3FF) are available. In promotions SIM cards are given out for 200 XOF.
Data feature packsEdit
For data you need to add packages which are called forfaits:
|24 hours||40 MB||100 F||*19*100#|
|24 hours||1 GB||500 F||*19*500#|
|24 hours||unlimited||990 F||*19*990#|
|3 days||3 GB||1000 F||*19*3#|
|5 days||1 GB||1000 F||*19*5#|
|7 days||150 MB||400 F||*19*150#|
|7 days||700 MB||1000 F||*19*1000#|
|7 days||1 GB||1500 F||*19*1500#|
|30 days||500 MB||1800 F||*19*1800#|
|30 days||1 GB||2300 F||*19*2300#|
|30 days||2 GB||3500 F||*19*3500#|
|30 days||5 GB||6900 F||*19*6900#|
- APN: expresso
- Website in French: http://www.expressotelecom.sn/fr