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Mauritania: operators fined US$1.5-million over service failure

Mauritania: operators fined US.5-million over service failure

Mauritania's three telco operators, Mauritel, Mattel and Chinguitel will each have to pay a portion of a US$1.5-million fine issued by the Regulatory Authority for Posts and Telecommunications (ARPT) related to the quality of voice and data services offered.

ARPT issued a statement which explained the fines were the result of an assessment of the quality of services offered by the operators between 20 October and 25 November 2018 in various regions, including the capital Nouakchott.

Mauritel, a subsidiary of Maroc Telecom Group, was issued with the highest fine of 37.7-million ouguiyas, about US$$1-million. Mattel, a subsidiary of the Tunisian group Tunisie Telecom, was fined 12-million ouguiyas (about US$330,000), while the country's subsidiary of Sudatel group, Chinguitel was fined 10.7-million ouguiyas, about US$294,000.

The operators have not yet commented, although they have been directed to provide an official response to the observations made that resulted in the fines.

Meanwhile ARPT continues to focus on the introduction of 4G services in the country and encourage competition in the market.

In October 2018 ITWeb Africa reported on plans by the regulator to issue 4G licenses to existing operators as well as a 2G/3G/4G license to a new entrant. However, these plans were subsequently put on hold until 2019 - although the regulator has not yet issued a new official announcement.

Experts believe the country's telecommunications sector still has enough space for operators.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), while Mauritania has an average of 92.2 mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, mobile broadband subscriptions is at 30.3%.

Only 20.8% of individuals in the country are using the internet while 14.3% of households have internet access.

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