Moov Benin launches 3G for smartphone, tablet, modem users

21 Feb 2014

Moov Benin, part of the UAE-owned Etisalat group, has launched commercial 3G mobile broadband data services in the west African republic’s capital Cotonou, based on a ‘3.75G’ W-CDMA/HSPA+/DC-HSPA+ network. Moov made 3G internet/data packages available for its customers with compatible handsets/devices on 30 January 2014. It is offering seven 3G data tariffs (all inclusive of an additional SMS messaging quota), including an entry-level XOF500 (USD1.05) 50MB plan with seven-day duration; XOF1,500 for 200MB (30-day duration); XOF3,000 for 400MB; XOF10,000 for 2GB; ranging up to XOF30,000 for a 10GB monthly package. Users reported initial peak speeds of up to 27Mbps (albeit on a brand new network with little user traffic) and welcomed prices initially lower than certain tariffs offered by rival MTN Benin. Over the first two weeks of February Moov Benin released further details of compatible devices, including smartphones – indicating at least four compatible models available including handsets from Alcatel and Samsung costing from XOF40,000 – plus a tablet (from Alcatel, costing XOF100,000 with a month’s data), and a Moov-branded USB modem (XOF25,000 with a month’s data package). However, the operator has not yet released network coverage details. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that following MTN Benin’s 3G (technology neutral) licence award in March 2012, it took Moov Benin until June 2013 to receive a similar ‘universal’ mobile licence, clearing the path for launching 3G, and in the future 4G services. The 20-year licence award followed a tender finished the previous month, and carried the same USD100 million price tag as MTN was charged. GlobalComms also shows that Moov Benin was the country’s mobile internet leader in terms of users at mid-2013, with 376,000 customers using 2.5G GPRS/EDGE services, or nearly 54% of the segment, up from 167,000 users a year earlier.

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