The Benin mobile market has experienced quite some volatility, when from six operators only two are remaining after the dissolution of BBCOM and shut down of state-owned Libercom and the revocation of the license of Globacom Benin (brand name: Glo) in 2017.
As a result two major mobile network operators are competing now for customers with the following ranking based on their market share:
- MTN Benin (by Spacetel Benin)
- Moov Benin (by Maroc Telecom)
All remaining customers of Glo were moved to Moov in early 2018 by the regulator. Network regulator is ARCEP and currency is CFA Franc (XOF). The country code is +229.
Mobile networks account for almost all internet connections, and also carry most voice traffic. There has been some progress resulting from improved international internet connectivity and the rapidly escalating bandwidth available, which has led to lower access pricing for end-users. This has assisted mobile network operators to expand their networks, and provided the necessary backhaul capacity to support the growing use of mobile data applications and service, including m-commerce and m-banking.
The local mobile phone coverage is quite good and fairly cheap by regional standards. However, the regulator imposed heavy penalties in 2017 against MTN and Glo for its poor quality of service.
2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G/UMTS on 900 and 2100 MHz. 4G/LTE has started on 1800 MHz (band 3) and is added by 800 MHz (band 20).
Benin’s scheme to register all mobile users came into effect in 2011, under which existing subscribers were told to provide official identification to their operators, or risk the deactivation of their SIMs, whilst ID was also officially required to purchase a new SIM card.
On 1 March 2018 Benin officially entered the ‘free mobile roaming zone’ established by West African countries Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Togo. From now on, travelling Beninese in the above countries will benefit from outgoing calls billed at local rates, plus free incoming calls (currently capped at 300 incoming minutes per month). The free roaming zone doesn't apply to data use.
MTN Benin Edit
MTN used to be the largest operator in number of users. The South-African based MTN is present in Benin since 2006 after acquisition of Spacetel Benin (Areeba). It ended 2017 with a solid share of more than 60% of the market.
4G/LTE is available at no extra cost also for pre-paid users in areas around Cotonou, Ouémé and Abomey.
They charge 200 CFA for a SIM card at their stores, that are located near the borders, in the malls and in Cotonou Airport as well.
If you intent to keep your SIM for a next visit it is possible to buy extended validity as following:
- for extra validity of 6 months: 300 CFA by *201*1#
- for extra validity of 12 months: 400 CFA by *201*2#
Base rate without packages is 10 CFA per MB. This is called FORFAITS LIBRES and needs to be activated by *130#. Otherwise, you don't get data outside packages.
Data feature packages Edit
Forfaits VOLUME are data packages for a specific volume valid for a specific time. You can activate them via *130*<amount># or through the menu of *130*1#. Once used or expired they don't auto-renew:
|50 MB||24 hours||100 CFA|
|200 MB||150 CFA|
|300 MB||200 CFA|
|450 MB||250 CFA|
|200 MB||48 hours||300 CFA|
|1 GB||500 CFA|
|100 MB||7 days||500 CFA|
|500 MB||2000 CFA|
|2 GB||2500 CFA|
|300 MB||30 days||1000 CFA|
|750 MB||2000 CFA|
|2.4 GB||4000 CFA|
|4 GB||6000 CFA|
|6.5 GB||9000 CFA|
The Forfaits ILLIMITÉS provide you data in up to 4G/LTE speed (where available) until a fair use threshold is reached and then throttled to 256 kbps for the remaining validity. They auto-renew at expiry and thus need to be disactivated manually. To activate and select in the menu *130*0*1# To check remaining data allowance *130*2#. To disactivate *130*3#
- 15,000 CFA for up to 6 GB per month
- 25,000 CFA for up to 30 GB per month.
- 45,000 CFA for up to 60 GB per month
For night owls, MTN offers the Forfaits NUIT valid midnight - 6am:
- 750 CFA for 1 GB valid for 1 night, activation via *130*750#
- 999 CFA for unlimited usage valid for 1 night, activation via *130*999#
- 5000 CFA for unlimted usage valid for 1 week, activation via *130*5000#
More information Edit
- APN: internet.mtn.bj
- Website in French: www.mtn.bj
Moov Benin EditMoov was owned by Etisalat and recently sold to Maroc Telecom. It's the major rival of MTN and historically the second operator in the country. In 2018 it has grown after the migration of about 1 million stranded Glo customers in to its network by decision of the regulator, but remains second player with a nearly 40% share of the market.
According to the latest audits of the regulator ARCEP it has the slightly better coverage compared to MTN: coverage map
A basic SIM card costs 250 CFA, lowered in promotions to 100 CFA in their Moovstores (list) like at the airport.
There are different prepaid plans to choose from. Use *106*1# to activate the plan of choice. MoovVivo is their standard plan.
On MoovVoyageur+ they offer an extention of SIM validity, if you intend to keep your number and SIM with *125# for 6 months at 100 CFA.
Data feature packages Edit
Forfaits volumes are data packages giving data at up to 3G/4G speeds:
|50 MB||24 hours||100 CFA||*375*1*1*1#|
|200 MB||150 CFA||*375*1*4*1#|
|300 MB||200 CFA||*375*1*4*4#|
|500 MB||300 CFA||*375*1*4*2#|
|1 GB||48 hours||500 CFA||*375*1*4*3#|
|100 MB||7 days||500 CFA||*375*1*2*1#|
|500 MB||30 days||1500 CFA||*375*1*3*1#|
|3 GB||5000 CFA||*375*1*3*2#|
Like MTN they offer 'unlimited' packages called Forfaits Ilimites with a share of high speed data and throttled beyond:
- Ilimites Nuit: valid 11pm-6am, 1.5 GB then throttled to 2 Mbit/s - 750 CFA, activation: *375*8*1#
- Ilimites 6G+: 6 GB for 30 days, then throttled to 1 Mbit/s - 15,000 CFA, activation: *375*5*1#
- Ilimites Tche: 25 GB for 30 days, then throttled to 2 Mbit/s - 30,000 CFA, activation: *375*5*2#
- Ilimites Confort: 50 GB for 30 days, then throttled to 3 Mbit/s - 45,000 CFA, activation: *375*5*3#
- Ilimites Xtra: 100 GB for 30 days then throttled to 3 Mbit/s - 75,000 CFA, activation: *375*5*4#
More information Edit
- APN: moov username: web password: web
- Website in French: www.moov.bj