Benin to shake up duopoly with new state operator

Benin to shake up duopoly with new state operator

Benin’s government has announced that the state-owned digital infrastructure firm SBIN (Societe Beninoise d’Infrastructures Numeriques) will add a mobile offering to its portfolio.

SBIN will provide services using assets formerly owned by Benin Telecoms Infrastructures (BTI). According to Agence Ecofin, Benin’s Council of Ministers took the decision “in light of the evolution of the restructuring of the digital telecommunications sector which required a redefinition of the missions of SBIN.”

Since Benin’s mobile market is at present an effective duopoly between MTN and Moov, the government believes that a new player will “offer a better quality of mobile services to support the digital transformation efforts undertaken by the government.”

Benin’s finance ministry and Ministry of Digital & Digitalisation have been instructed to oversee “a successful transformation of SBIN into a global telecommunications operator” by the Council of Ministers.

Additionally, they have been tasked with selecting a private firm to manage the operator’s infrastructure, which will include a national broadband backbone and submarine cable access rights. Reportedly, the government has drawn up a shortlist of candidates including Axione, Csquared, Inwi, Tata Communications, Telecel and Sonatel.  

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