State-owned broadband provider Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT) has confirmed that it has launched Libya’s third mobile phone network, under the brand name LibyaPhone Mobile. Although no precise rollout details have been confirmed by the operator, it claims that its network has capacity for around 100,000 customers during the first phase of its operations. Further, LibyaPhone Mobile has pledged to extend coverage to areas under-served by fellow state-owned cellcos Libyana and Al Madar Telecomm Company. LTT claims that LibyaPhone Mobile will offer both 2G and 3G connectivity.
Although speculation regarding the launch of a third mobile phone operator in Libya has been rife for some time, in July 2010 it was confirmed that UAE’s Etisalat and Turkcell of Turkey had both been overlooked for a new LYD1 billion (USD825 million) concession. The General Telecommunication Authority (GTA) had previously launched an international tender for a combined fixed and mobile licence in February 2009, although its final decision was severely delayed, and no clear reasons were given for the lack of progress, merely that the international telcos were ‘unsuitable’.
According to TeleGeography, state-owned Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT) is the country’s dominant ISP and also acts as a moderator for the internet sector. The operator launched a commercial WiMAX network – operating in the 2.5GHz band – under the ‘LibyaMax’ banner in February 2009. Services have subsequently been expanded to over 25 locations, predominantly along the coast, covering around 65% of the population.