Mozambican government plans partial privatisation of mobile telecommunications operator Moçambique Celular

25 August 2010

Maputo, Mozambique, 25 Aug – The Mozambican government is considering the partial privatisation of mobile carrier Moçambique Celular (mCel) and give priority to national investors, the chairman of state stake-holding company Instituto de Gestão das Participações do Estado (Igepe) said Tuesday in Maputo.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, Hipólito Hamela said that nothing had been decided yet and added, “we are thinking of partially selling mCel to give Mozambicans the opportunity to make money, and be shareholders of profitable companies.”

The mobile phone company, which is entirely state-owned, has 4 million customers, which represent a market share of 70 percent.

“That is our aim: To create strong national business owners, Mozambicans with money and with capital is what we want. We can’t just sell non-profitable companies to Mozambicans, we also want to sell the profitable ones,” said the chairman of Igepe.

Two mobile telecommunications companies currently operate in Mozambique: Mcel, which is state-owned, and Vodacom, a South African and Mozambican consortium, with around 2.5 million customers.

The former began operating 10 years ago, while the latter has been operating since 2003. At the beginning of the year the government launched a tender for a third mobile phone operator. A consortium that includes Portugal Telecom (PT) is amongst the three candidates.

Public company Telecomunicações de Moçambique has had the monopoly on fixed line telephony since the country’s independence in 1975, but its liberalisation is expected be carried out soon. (macauhub)