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Burkina Faso phone operators fined USD5.4m

OUAGADOUGOU: Burkina Faso has slapped three telecoms operators with more than five million dollars in penalties for subpar service, a regulatory official announced at a press conference Friday, 10 February 2012.
"We decided to impose financial sanctions against the three mobile operators for their failure to comply with terms," said Bako Mathurin, the president of Burkina Faso's regulatory authority ARCEP.

He added that the three companies - Telmob, Airtel and Telecel Faso - had two weeks to pay the combined total of 2.706 billion CFA francs (US$5.4 million dollars, €4.1 million).

Government officials and consumer groups regularly take the telecom operators to task for poor internet service, as well as problems with calls and text messaging.

But that has not stopped the government from recently awarding all three companies with third generation (3G) licenses for 1.5 billion CFA francs (US$3 million dollars, €2.3 million) each.

Telmob, a subsidiary of Morocco's Onatel, and the largest of the three telecoms with 3.5 million of Burkina's eight million mobile subscribers, was hit Friday with the largest penalty, at 1.086 billion CFA francs.

Airtel, owned by India's Bharti, was fined 894 million CFA francs and locally-owned Telecel Faso 724 million.

Ouagadougou has plans to allow a fourth operator into the flourishing Burkina Faso telecoms market.


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