Cellular duo formally awarded 3G licences

15 Nov 2011

Mozambican mobile operators mCel and Vodacom Mozambique (VM) have been formally issued with national 3G licence extensions, which are valid for 15 years apiece. Under the terms of the licences, as set out by the National Communications Institute of Mozambique (INCM), the pair are obliged to expand their 3G networks to all districts of the country by 31 December 2015, with a particular focus on the so-called ‘development corridors’ and tourist resorts, as well as improving their existing networks in areas which are considered to be strategic locations. INCM president Isidoro da Silva confirmed that the licences encompass frequencies in the 1900MHz and 2100MHz spectrum bands. mCel CEO Mamudo Ibraimo indicated that the first cities to benefit from his company’s nationwide 3G focus will be Quelimane, Chimoio and Mocuba.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in September 2006 state-owned mCel was awarded the country’s first UMTS 3G concession, while its sole rival at that date, VM, opted not to submit an application at that time. In 2008, however, VM had a change of heart and successfully acquired a 3G licence from the INCM; its W-CDMA network had been expected to launch in the third quarter of 2009, but eventually began offering commercial services in February 2010. The latest move effectively brings mCel and Vodacom in line with yet-to-launch third player Movitel, which received its own 15-year UMTS concession in January 2011.