Mozambique: Government plans partial privatisation of mCel

Telecoms

The Mozambican government is considering plans to partially privatise the state-owned cellco Mozambique Cellular (mCel), Radio Mozambique has reported. Hipolito Hamela, chairman of the state’s stake-holding company Instituto de Gestao das Participacoes do Estado (IGEPE), asserted that it aims to give priority to national investors. He commented: ‘We think partially selling mCel would be an opportunity to earn money for Mozambicans as shareholders with profitable companies. Our goal is to create strong national entrepreneurs - Mozambicans with money and capital. We can’t just sell non-profitable companies to Mozambicans, we also want to sell the profitable ones.’

mCel, Mozambique’s largest cellco by subscribers, reported four million subscribers as at June 2010, representing a 71.9% market share. Rival Vodacom Mozambique is currently the only other mobile operator, and claimed 1.57 million subscribers at the same date. Three out of 22 interested parties have recently been shortlisted to become Mozambique’s third mobile phone operator. The three in question are TMN (the cellular unit of Portugal Telecom), UNI-Telecom (a joint venture between Angolan cellco Unitel and Mozambique’s Energy Capital) and a Vietnam-backed bidder named Movitel.