The South African government has invited bids from companies wishing to become the majority 51% shareholder in the second national operator (SNO). Interested parties have until 30 April to submit the necessary documentation, which will subsequently be reviewed by a government-appointed working committee. The committee will then submit a short list of contenders to the telecoms regulator Icasa, which makes a recommendation to the government. Interested parties must pay SAR100,000 to submit their application, although the actual cost of the licence has still to be set. Once the successful candidate has been identified, it will be required to form a joint venture company with the existing shareholders, namely black empowerment group Nexus (19%), Eskom Telecommunications and Transtel (a combined 30%). Pretoria’s first attempt at finding a strategic partner for the SNO failed earlier this year when both applicants, Goldleaf Trading and Optis Telecommunications, were rejected by the Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri on the basis that they were ‘unsuitable’.