Mozambican government launches international public tender for third mobile telephony operator

6 April 2010

Maputo, Mozambique, 6 Apr – The Mozambican government has launched an international public tender for the third mobile telephony operator, with 6 July set as the deadline for submitting bids, the country’s minister of Transport and Telecommunications has announced.

The government will have 60 days after the deadline to evaluate the proposals and choose a winning bid, Minister Paulo Zucula said on Monday, adding that the winner could begin operating in 30 days, with an obligation to enter the market within one year.

The government set at US$25 million the minimum amount of the licence acquisition fee which the tender winner will have to pay.

The tender regulations specify that it is open to companies that operate one or more networks with at least 2 million customers and which have a Mozambican partner. They must also be registered in Mozambique.

The government will place more value on the technical proposal than the financial one. The licence is for 15 years, renewable. Currently there are two mobile service companies operating in Mozambique, mCel and Vodacom.

Besides the two mobile operators (which cover 90 percent of the country), Mozambique has a fixed service operator (covering 116 of the 128 districts), three cable television (and Internet) operators, and 15 value-added services operators.

There are currently nearly 6 million mobile telephone customers out of a population of 21 million. But the director-general of Mozambique’s National Communications Institute, Americo Muchanga, says “there is no market saturation” and that a third operator will enable more coverage, improve quality of service and boost competition, with lower prices for consumers.