Congo-Brazzaville issues a fourth mobile licence
According to Reuters, the Republic of Congo has awarded a fourth mobile network operator licence to Equateur Telecom Congo (ETC), a subsidiary of Bahrain-based telecommunications provider Bintel. ETC will join Zain Congo, MTN Congo and Warid Congo in the country’s mobile sector after negotiations lasting several months culminated in the award of the GSM concession. Thierry Moungalla, Congo’s minister of telecommunications, said of the development: ‘The arrival of this new operator is part of the development of this sector [and] will create jobs... This new business will help develop our economy.’ Bintel’s director of international affairs, Dr Abdallah Tourbah, noted: ‘It is a stable country both politically and economically. We are confident [in] the business climate. The market is very dynamic and we have great experience in this area.’ No financial details of the licence provision have been disclosed.
According to TeleGeography's GlobalComms database, Bintel was registered in Jebel Ali in Dubai in 2007, but is headquartered in Manama, Bahrain. The group launched commercial mobile services in Gabon in October 2009 via USAN Gabon (Azur), whilst it previously launched GSM networks in Somaliland (a republic which has yet to receive international recognition) in mid-2008 and the Central African Republic in mid-2007. The Middle Eastern firm has allocated a total of USD250 million over the next two years to expand its networks and enter more African markets.