TDM Prepares to Face Competition in Mozambique

Telecoms

Mozambique's publicly-owned telecommunications company, TDM, is preparing to guarantee its survival in the market place in the face of possible competition, following the end of its monopoly on the fixed phone network on 31 December last year.

Interviewed by AIM, the chairperson of the TDM board of directors, Joaquim de Carvalho, said that all the company's activities nowadays were geared to meeting the challenge from a future competitor.

Carvalho said restructuring of TDM has been under way since 2004, in order to strengthen TDM's financial situation, and to guarantee that it will continue to lead the fixed phone market, even if competitors appear in the newly liberalized market.

TDM has been expanding its network to parts of the country where previously there was no access to fixed phones, and has been ensuring access to broadband internet service on TDM lines in all provincial capitals.

"We are aware that our monopoly has ended and we are taking measures to meet the competition with the greatest of ease", said Carvalho. "We want to put the company in the best possible position. We are seeking to consolidate our position as market leader, so that when a new operator does arrive, it will find us very well positioned".

TDM has already had to meet the threat posed by a different technology - that of mobile telephony. With the advent of mobile phones, many people, unwilling or unable to pay for both a fixed and a mobile phone, gave up their fixed line, and so the number of TDM subscribers declined. Clearly TDM does not want to see its subscriber base (which currently stands at 72,000) further eroded.

Carvalho said that one of the main challenges TDM faces is to ensure that basic telephone services - by which he meant voice, fax and Internet access - become available in all 128 districts.

This is an enormous challenge, since even ensuring these services of an acceptable quality in all 11 provincial capitals would cost 20 million US dollars. So far TDM only has five million dollars available for this investment, and hopes to raise the rest from grants and loans.

To date the government has issued no statement about licensing a second fixed phone operator, and it is not clear whether other companies are really interested in challenging TDM.

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique