A total of 13 telecoms companies have expressed an interest in acquiring a 75% stake in Nigeria’s struggling incumbent telco Nigerian Telecommunications (NITEL) and its mobile arm M-Tel, reports local newspaper Leadership Nigeria citing a statement from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). The government relaunched the sale process in July of this year after a previous attempt to sell the indebted fixed line operator failed. According to the BPE’s statement, the interested parties are: Etisalat Nigeria, Omen International Limited, Summit Group, MTI Consortium, Finetek.Com/Ericsson, MTNL Limited of India, Globacom, MTN Nigeria Communications, Anas Network Services Limited, Telefonica of Spain, MetroPCS Communications, Brymedia, and Galaxy Backbone. The BPE added that those pre-qualified for the next stage are expected to pay a non-refundable fee of USD25,000 for bidding documents and comply with the confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement. The BPE also announced that an evaluation committee has been formed to independently assess each of the submissions, and preference would be given to bidders who wish acquire NITEL’s fixed lines, transmission backbone, M-Tel and SAT-3 components together. The deadline for interested bidders to express an interest expired on 28 August 2009 and interested parties have until 2 October 2009 to submit technical and financial bids.