Mozambican Government Planning to Unify Telecom Licences

Telecoms

The Mozambican government is studying the viability of unifying the licensing of new telephone operators and Internet service providers, who wish to enter the Mozambican market.

Interviewed in Friday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", the Minister of Transport and Communications, Paulo Zucula, said that granting several different licences for the provision of telecommunications services was ceasing to be rational.

"We are working hard on technological convergence", said Zucula. "Nowadays it is not necessary to have one operator for fixed phones, another operator for mobile phones, and another for transmitting images. Cell phones can work with voice, images and data".

Currently licences for operating fixed phones, for mobile telephony and for internet service providers are all separate.

Zucula believed that unifying the licences would save time and money, by reducing the number of procedures companies would have to go through to obtain licences.

Currently there are three mobile phone operators, and one operator of the fixed phone service. Asked when more operators would be licensed, Zucula said that would all depend on market demand.

"I can't say when we will have new operators", he said. "But the Mozambican population is growing and, as a result, so is the market. I don't know if we will continue to hold tenders every time a new operator wants to come in".

But he made clear that he believes the current system of granting telephony licences through public tender is no longer appropriate. However, changing the system to allow a simpler form of licensing will require changes in the law