Benin opens up third licence tender with SBIN the favourite

Benin opens up third licence tender with SBIN the favourite

Benin has begun tendering for a new mobile network operator, with foreign firms invited to participate on the grounds that they already operate a telecoms network.

The Ministry of Digital & Digitalisation (MND/ Ministere du Numerique et de la Digitalisation) stated that in order to be considered, applicants would need to demonstrate relevant technical skill and financial resources, as well as proving that they are neither directly or indirectly controlled by a current licence holder.

Benin’s Council of Ministers approved the tender on 25th March, with regulator ARCEP (l’Autorite de Regulation des Communications Electroniques et de la Poste) publishing the invitation for applications a month later. Applications must be received by 18th May 2021, and require a non-refundable fee of XOF5 million (US$9100).

At present, Benin’s mobile market is an effective duopoly between private sector players MTN and Moov, but TeleGeography reports that the government is pushing for state-owned SBIN (Societe Beninoise d’Infrastructures Numeriques) to receive the new licence.

In March this year, the Council of Ministers appointed Senegal’s Sonatel as a management firm for SBIN, with the goal of making the state provider a “major GSM operator” across the next five years. In the same pronouncement, the council permitted the MND to “initiate the opening of a procedure for granting a third licence for mobile electronic communications networks for the benefit of the SBIN”.