Warid Telecom: lack of spectrum delays launch

16 Mar 2009

According to Balancing Act News Update, UAE-backed telco Warid Telecom is struggling to get its Cote d’Ivoire wireless operation off the ground because it has not yet secured the necessary wireless frequencies. Warid signed an accord with the Ivorian government to become the country’s sixth licensed operator in July 2006. It agreed to pay XOF30 billion (USD6 million) for a licence giving it frequencies in the 900MHz-1800MHz band, as well as an international gateway licence. According to the terms of the licence, 95% of the fee was to be paid to the government and 5% to the regulator, the ATCI. Warid soon realised that he had insufficient spectrum for its operations, and as a result sought to enter into an agreement with local cellco Celcom Cote d’Ivoire. Despite protracted negotiations, however, no agreement was ever reached, leaving Warid somewhat at a loss. Meanwhile, Sylvanus Kla, a spokesperson at the ATCI, has said there are no spare frequency channels available to give to Warid, adding that the fee it paid was for the licence, not the allocation of spectrum.

Côte d'Ivoire, Warid Telecom (Cote d'Ivoire)