The “Wi-Fi Zone” service is facing the threat of extinction due to new regulatory measures. While the Regulatory Authority for Electrical Communications and Posts asserts that offering internet access to other consumers is legal, it must be subject to a declaration.
The operators of “Wi-Fi Zones” are unhappy about what they see as an abuse of power, while regulators call upon them to regularize their activities.
In February, Togocom, the country’s main access provider, deemed the operation of “Wi-Fi Zones” unlawful and pledged to deactivate them.
Several months later, the regulatory authority for electronic communications reminded everyone that this activity requires a prior declaration. Business operators have been given three months to regularize their activities.
Operators are concerned about the situation. Michael Agbognigan, President of the National Association of Wifi Zone Operators, decries Togocom’s abrupt and unnotified disconnections.
The “Wifi Zone” services emerged with the introduction of fiber optic access and became quite profitable from 2018 onwards. They enable low-income populations to access low-cost internet, even in the most remote regions of Togo.
It is acknowledged that regularization is necessary, but the Togo Consumer League (LCT) believes that the legal framework should be adapted to national needs. Emmanuel Sogadzi, President of LCT, expresses his readiness to advocate for consumers with the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (Arcep).
Internet service provider Togocom did not respond to our inquiries. As for Arcep, they called upon Togocom in a statement on the evening of October 10th, urging them to cease the unjustified disconnections immediately.