Maroc Telecom eyes Warid Cote d'Ivoire licence

Telecoms

Vivendi-backed Maroc Telecom is considering buying a mobile licence in Cote d'Ivoire owned but never used by Warid Telecom, Jeune Afrique reports. The Cote d'Ivoire mobile market is dominated by MTN and Orange. Warid's Cote d'Ivoire concession, in which a prince of Abu Dhabi holds a majority share, reportedly never got off the ground because of disagreements between the venture's Ivoirian and Pakistani members. Warid Telecom sacked all staff and shut its doors in July 2011, after having invested around XOF 40 billion. Jeune Afrique speculates that this may be a way for Maroc Telecom to add value prior to a possible stake sale by Vivendi.

Meanwhile, the landscape of the Ivorian mobile sector has changed noticeably since Warid first secured a mobile concession in the country, with a further three cellcos commencing commercial operations, namely: Comium (May 2007), Oricel (now GreenN, December 2008) and Aircom (January 2012). The last-named firm became the sixth main player in an already-crowded wireless market last year, improbably resurfacing twelve years after first obtaining a mobile licence. The company belatedly claimed that it had achieved ‘all administrative requirements’. As at end-September 2012 the Ivorian mobile market was dominated by the well-established likes of MTN (34.9%), Orange (33.3%) and Moov (20.7%).