TELECOMS

Mozambique to launch 3rd mobile international tender in December

The Mozambique government will finally launch an international tender for a third mobile phone licence in December, after delays amidst complaints from the two existing mobile wireless operators, a government official said.

A third operator was due to be licensed in Mozambique by June this year, but the awarding of the license was delayed amidst opposition from Mcel, a state owned company and South Africa's Vodacom, which is owned by Vodafone.

The tender was put on hold in April, while the Mozambique National Institute for Telecommunication (INCM) had renewed negotiations with other parties in the country's telecom industry. "We had last minute issues to deal with local operators, mCel and Vodacom. We are discussing technical and financial issues and the launch of the tender has been shelved for a while, but it will go ahead," INCM spokesperson told Reuters in April.

Transport and Communications Minister Paulo Zucula said on Tuesday a market study had been concluded and the government is currently preparing a bidding document. "Within a month or two, the tender will come out, what I mean is the tender will be launched by December," he told Reuters in an interview.

"First we had to do market study in the whole country to find out if there is room or not, we had to sit and discuss with other stakeholder and operators, all this has been concluded and the market is there," Zucula said.

Vodacom Mozambique has about 1.3 million subscribers, after paying about $15 million for a licence to enter the market six years ago while Mcel, which was established in 1997, says it has 3.5 million clients."Right now we are preparing the bidding documents, how long will it take for the new operator to start is up to the winning bidder," Zucula said.

Reuters

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