A study into the impact of awarding a third mobile licence in Mozambique will be submitted to the government later this year, says the country’s telecoms regulator, the Mozambican National Communications Institute (INCM). If its findings are positive, the mobile market could be opened up to fresh competition – subject to the approval of the government and the implementation of a new regulatory framework.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, mCel, the mobile arm of state-backed PTO Telecomunicações de Moçambique (TDM), was the first operator to launch mobile services in Mozambique when it introduced GSM services in 1997. For six years it remained unchallenged, but its prices were high and coverage relatively poor, and by September 2003 only 335,000 people had signed up to services, a penetration rate of under 2%. This all changed in December 2003 when Vodacom Mozambique, backed by its South African parent, finally launched its GSM-900 network under the brand name VM. By the end of December 2006 the country was home to more than two million users, of which mCel had the larger share with 57%.