State-backed Beninese Digital Infrastructure Company (Societe Beninoise d’Infrastructures Numeriques [SBIN]) has commercially launched mobile network services under its new Celtiis brand as the country’s third cellco, competing with private sector operators MTN Benin and Moov Africa Benin. Managed by Senegal’s Sonatel (part of Orange Group), SBIN’s Celtiis claims 80% national population coverage with its mobile network from launch, while the company has simultaneously introduced Celtiis-branded fibre broadband services – with three consumer fibre packages initially advertised on its website – plus mobile money service ‘Celtiis Cash’.
The Celtiis network offers voice and high speed mobile data services based on technologies including GSM and ‘4G+’ (LTE-A), using the phone number prefix ‘40’ and with number portability available from launch, enabling MTN and Moov users to switch to the newcomer. Celtiis claims ‘100%’ coverage of the Grand Nokoue conurbation incorporating the major cities Cotonou, Porto-Novo and Abomey-Calavi, plus all twelve regional (departmental) capitals, with extension to full national coverage promised in due course. SBIN Managing Director Therese Tounkara, quoted by Afro-Impact, declared at a launch event: ‘It is extremely rare for a new mobile network to cover 80% of the population,’ while she also highlighted value-for-money voice and internet packages, as well as a 1% withdrawal fee for Celtiis Cash – lower than equivalent fees for mobile money services provided by MTN and Moov. Celtiis customer service branches have opened across all twelve departments, while the company’s digital channels provide ‘instant support’ for users. Additionally, SBIN has adopted the Celtiis Business brand for a B2B range of services including higher speed internet connectivity and a new-generation data centre.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that SBIN was established in 2020 to transform operations of the former Benin Telecoms and enter the mobile market, while Sonatel was awarded the SBIN management contract under a Council of Ministers (CoM) decision of 24 March 2021, with the final agreement signed two months later, before the CoM authorised the granting of Benin’s third mobile operating licence to SBIN on 30 June 2021.