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Basics Edit

This African country remains one of the least developed on the continent, while telecom infrastructure is particularly poor, with penetration rates in all sectors well below African averages. Chad finally gained access to international fibre bandwidth in 2012, but it still lacks a national backbone infrastructure to support efficient broadband services. However, the World Bank-funded Central African Backbone (CAB) project has made progress, and Chad is also party to a Trans-Saharan Backbone project which will link a fibre cable to Nigeria and Algeria.

There are three mobile providers in the country:

  • Tigo Chad (by Millicom)
  • Airtel Chad (formerly Zain, by Bharti Airtel)
  • [Salam Mobile (by Sotel Tchad), 2G-only]

The mobile sector has developed steadily under the auspices of Airtel Chad and Tigo Chad which together account for 99% of the users, while the national telco and fixed-line operator, Sotel Tchad (ST) operates the country’s third mobile network, as Salam Mobile. The latter is mainly focused on voice services, because it solely relies on 2G and offers only basic mobile data services. That's why it's not mentioned any further or recommended.

Mobile broadband networks started in 2014 and are still in their infancy. So far internet counts only for 10% of revenue and internet usage is the lowest among countries with comparable GDP per capita. In a survey 86% of the users considered internet access as slow, 6% as satisfactory and 8% as fast.

The difficult economic conditions of the country, compounded by several hikes of the tax on telecom services (9% in Jan. 2018) which has adversely affected customer spending and operator revenue, have encouraged the two major players to consider exiting the market. In 2017 Millicom was reported to be in discussions with the Orange Group regarding a potential sale, while Bharti Airtel announced that Chad was one of its regional markets which it considered offloading. The Chadian government has launched a tender in 2018 for the award of a fourth mobile licence and has invited interested parties to submit offers.

Maintaining cellular networks in Chad is difficult and expensive due to harsh weather conditions and erratic electricity.  The market for handsets and tablets has not kept up with growing demand. Inexpensive handsets from Asia sold on the informal market are most common.

Coverage Edit

3G/4G coverage of population is around 25% with Tigo and Airtel, 4G/LTE is only available with Tigo in the capital. According to the regulator towns are covered by 2G, and mostly 3G, rural areas and roads have long uncovered streches. General GSM coverage of population is only around 85% by both providers equal to about 30-35% of the countries surface. In tests Tigo is a bit faster for data compared with Airtel.

Internet throttling Edit

Internet access in Chad has reportedly been throttled since March 2018 according to French NGO Internet Sans Frontières (ISF), which claimed in a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council that Chad had ‘mastered the practice of shutting down telecommunications for political reasons’. ISF’s submission stated that bandwidth throttling was ‘making it extremely difficult for Chadian citizens to connect to social media and messaging apps without the use of a VPN.’

Chad’s two major cellcos and internet access providers Tigo and Airtel have told a public hearing that recent restrictions on internet access were the result of directions from the government. Indeed, a representative from the regulator ARCEP told the court that they had issued the instruction following an order from the Ministry of Public Security.

ISF believes the situation has not changed and there remains interference with access, with regional media reporting that social media users in the country have had to resort to VPNs to access social media sites. According to tests, connections to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger endpoints were unsuccessful, while no HTTP response was acquired when testing sites of new organizations like the BBC or CNN. 26,000 individual measurements provide validated technical evidence of the selective slowing or throttling of internet services by the operators in Chad. Among platforms affected are key messaging and social media networks.

So for access to social media and messenging better bring along a VPN.

Tigo Chad Edit

Tigo

Tigo by Luxembourg-based Millicom started its operations in 2005 and has become the market leader in Chad with a 56% share. It's the only provider that has launched 4G/LTE so far back in 2014 on 2600 MHz (B7) in the capital N’Djamena only: 4G coverage map. Tigo Cash is a popular payment system in the country.

Availability Edit

SIM cards can be bought in their agencies called boutiques (map). There they sell 3 types of SIM cards:

  • regular SIM: mini and micro cards for 2G and 3G at 1000 CFA with 500 CFA credit and 25 MB for 60 days
  • 4G SIM: in triple size (micro, nano and mini) for 4G coverage in the capital at 3000 CFA with 300 MB for 7 days
  • nano SIM : SIM card in nano format for 2000 CFA with 500 CFA credit

For registration you need to show your photo ID or passport.

Top-ups are available of 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000 and 30000 CFA valid for 30-365 days depending on value all over the streets. To top-up dial *123*<voucher code>#, to check balance *100#.

Data feature packages Edit

Default rate outside packages is 188.9 CFA per MB.

They offer these data packages called Forfaits Internet in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE:

Time Data Price Activation
1 hour unlimited 300 CFA *3*300#
1 day 10 MB 250 CFA *3*250#
1 day 200 MB 500 CFA *3*500#
2 days 1 GB 2000 CFA *3*2000#
3 days 30 MB 600 CFA *3*600#
7 days 70 MB 1200 CFA *3*1200#
7 days 1 GB 2500 CFA *3*2500#
30 days 300 MB 3000 CFA *3*3000#
30 days 1 GB 7000 CFA *3*7000#
30 days 7 GB 12,000 CFA *3*12000#
30 days 14 GB 20,000 CFA *3*20000#
30 days 28 GB 35,000 CFA *3*35000#
30 days 45 GB 55,000 CFA *3*55000#
midnight

-6am

100 MB 300 CFA *999*2#

To check data allowance, type *128#.

For social media they offer combined packages for Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber:

  • 20 MB for 1 day: 200 CFA, activation: *3*200#
  • 100 MB for 7 days: 1000 CFA, activation: *3*1000#

More info Edit

Airtel Chad Edit

Airtel

Airtel (previously called Zain) and now owned by Indian Bharti Airtel is the 2nd mobile provider in the country with 43% of all users. 2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G/UMTS on 2100 MHz, no 4G/LTE so far: 2G/3G coverage map. Their payment system is called Airtel Money.

Availability Edit

A new SIM card is sold for 1000-2000 F in their boutiques (list) and at resellers (list). For registration show your ID document.

Top-ups are available of 200, 500, 1.000, 2.000, 5.000, 10.000 CFA and all of them are valid for 90 days. Check balance by *137#.

You can extend the validity of your SIM card by 'Airtel4life':

  • for 3 months: 2000 CFA
  • for 6 months: 5000 CFA
  • for 12 months: 10,000 CFA

To extend type *202*<number of months>#.

Data feature packages Edit

Their data packages are called Eco Net and Pro Net:

Time Data Price
1 day 10 MB 250 CFA
1 day 15 MB 350 CFA
3 days 25 MB 600 CFA
7 days 70 MB 1200 CFA
7 days 120 MB 2000 CFA
30 days 256 MB 3000 CFA
30 days 650 MB 6000 CFA
30 days 1 GB 12,000 CFA
30 days 6 GB 35,000 CFA
30 days 10 GB 57,630 CFA
60 days 35 GB 205,000 CFA
60 days 50 GB 285,000 CFA
60 days 100 GB 545,000 CFA
midnight

-6am

50 MB 580 CFA
200 MB 1155 CFA

To check data allowance, type *342*4#

For social media they offer packages for

  • WhatsApp:
    • 25 MB until midnight: 200 CFA
    • 100 MB for 7 days: 1000 CFA
  • Facebook:
    • 25 MB until midnight: 200 CFA
    • 100 MB for 7 days: 1000 CFA

Activation by *342*7#

More info Edit