New: Senegal Shuts Down Mobile Internet, Election Postponed

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The government of Senegal has officially suspended Mobile internet in the country. Beginning yesterday 10 pm, the Senegalese ministry of Communication, Telecommunications and Digital Affairs ordered all mobile telecommunications companies to comply with the directive.

The Minister informs the public that due to the dissemination of several hateful and subversive messages relayed on social networks in a context of threats of disturbances to public order, the internet of data mobile phones is temporarily suspended”.

The uproar in the country came about after President Macky Sall called off this month’s election. He cited a row over the eligibility of candidates as the reason. The president has served 2 terms and constitutionally, he is mandated to leave office this year. The duration for the mobile internet suspension is unknown.

This is not the first time Senegal has used the guise of “hateful messages” to limit the internet. Last year in June, opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was formally charged with fomenting an insurrection. His arrest and subsequent imprisonment led to violence erupting. This made the government to shut down the internet in the country.

Currently, those with access to WiFi are able to go online. Internet observatory organisation Netblocks has not officially confirmed disruptions. However, the director has urged people in Senegal to use the platform to confirm if their internet service provider is limiting specific online platforms.

In today’s world, the internet is a critical resource. Any disruption is bound to affect the population including leading to loss of revenue.

Senegal Internet Metrics

According to a 2023 report from GSMA, 68% of Senegalese adults in urban areas own a smart phone while 49% of rural adults own a smartphone. Of Senegal’s total population of 17.42 million in January 2022, about 8.01 million are internet users. Senegal’s internet penetration rate stood at 46.0 percent of the total population at the start of 2022.

The mobile services market in the country has three operators. They are Orange (Sonatel), Free Senegal and Expresso Senegal/Sudatel.