The Sonatel group arrives in Benin

The State of Benin has announced that it has retained the Sonatel group as a private partner to pilot the Beninese digital infrastructure company (SBIN), the third mobile telephone operator in the country to operate alongside MTN and Moov Africa, a subsidiary of Maroc Telecom. .

This is one of the crucial stages in the restructuring of the Beninese public telecommunications sector started in 2017. “After the implementation of structural reforms in the telecommunications sector, the Council of Ministers decided, during its meeting of March 18, 2020, that the SBIN be authorized, in addition to its mission of managing digital infrastructures and wholesale capacity, to also provide fixed and mobile electronic communications services to individuals as well as to businesses ”, recalls a press release sanctioning the Council of Ministers held on Wednesday March 24.

“It is to face this challenge, in a competitive context, that the State has taken the decision to recruit a strategic partner benefiting from solid skills and proven experience, the objective being to make the SBIN rapidly operational. and efficient in providing competitive offers and services to its customers. At the end of the procedures carried out, it was the Sonatel group operating in the sub-region under the Orange brand, which was selected “, continues the same source.

Established in 2018, SBIN is a public limited company born from the ashes of the incumbent public operators of fixed telephony (Benin Telecom) and mobile (Libercom) fully owned by the State. Since March 25, 2020, it has been headed by Marc-André AkinOlu Loko, a few days after the announcement of the decision to expand its scope of intervention.

“Granting of a third license”

As delegated manager, indicates the government, Sonatel will have the mandate, in addition to the management of the SBIN over a period of five years to make it a major GSM operator, to implement the necessary infrastructures for the rapid provision of communications services. mobile electronics. Thus, provision is made for the opening of a procedure for granting a third license for mobile electronic communications networks in favor of the SBIN.

“This is not a privatization or delegation of public service but a management contract, […] separating possession of assets and operational management”, according to an official note from the Ministry of Digital and of Digitization dated August 2019, and bearing a document calling for applications for the choice of manager.

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