The government of Timor-Leste has announced that it has awarded the country’s two new telecommunications licences to Vietnam’s Viettel Global Investment and PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), with the aim of introducing competition to the island’s telecoms markets. Digicel Pacific Limited (Digicel) was initially announced as one of the winners of the new concessions on 28 June, but has since withdrawn its application. Under the tender process rules, the licence was awarded to the applicant with the next highest score in the selection process, Viettel, which scored half a point less than Digicel out of a total of 100 points. Telin has promised to commence services within six months of receiving its licence and commits to ultimately covering 94% of the population with GSM mobile telephony and 3G internet access services. Viettel meanwhile has committed to initially providing GSM and 3G services to 93% of the population, rising to 95% within three years.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that the two new licensees will join Portugal Telecom subsidiary Timor Telecom (TT), which won a tender to construct the island’s telecoms infrastructure from scratch in July 2002 and was granted exclusivity in the market until 2017. In March 2012, however, an agreement was reached between the government and TT to end its monopoly earlier than planned and the following month a tender was launched for a pair of mobile spectrum licences. Interested parties were invited to apply for two 15-year licences which permit the use of frequencies in the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands for the provision of mobile services. An option to use frequencies in the 850MHz band is also available.