Viettel and Monaco Telecom front-runners for Cote d’Ivoire GSM licence
The Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications in Cote d’Ivoire (Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications de CI, ARTCI) is reviewing three offers for new mobile concessions in its region. ARTCI sees this as its opportunity to redefine the region’s mobile market.
This action comes just one week after ARTCI took the drastic action of removing the GSM mobile licenses from Comium and GreenN for allegedly ‘underperforming’.
Telecoms minister Bruno Nabagne Kone told the Reuters news agency today that the government is considering offers from Monaco Telecom, Vietnam’s Viettel Group and the Libyan Post Telecommunications and Information Technology Company (LPTIC). Ironically LPTIC is the parent company of GreenN.
Nabagne Kone said: “We have three offers which will undergo an independent assessment, then a decision will be taken by the government.”
He also said that the watchdog may decide to preserve the three operator market – comprising Orange, MTN and Moov – if the offers are not good enough. This is contrary to ARTCI’s stated aim of re-aligning the region’s mobile market along a four-player framework.
To stimulate the market, ARTCI is promising a fair redistribution of spectrum resources. For its part the watchdog expects any new player not just to be able to provide a good GSM phone service but also be capable of providing fixed line, fast data and internet connections.
Monaco Telecom would be in the running for a licence but some sources are on the record as saying that Viettel Group is considered the most likely successful candidate given its track record in markets such as Burundi, Cameroon and Tanzania.