The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications has announced that four companies have submitted a bid for Cameroon’s third mobile licence out of the seven firms that pre-qualified to take part in the tender. The ministry listed the four bidders as: Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel, which acquired the majority of Kuwait-based Zain’s African assets in June 2010; Vietnamese military-run Viettel, which also operates in Cambodia, Laos, Haiti and Mozambique; Maroc Telecom, part of the Vivendi Group; and Technologie et Systeme d’information/Korea Telecom. The commission has seven days from 12 November to review the bids. Cameroon’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam, called for expressions of interest for the concession, which includes frequencies for the operation of a 3G network, in May this year. The winning bidder will join two established companies in the mobile market – South Africa-based MTN Cameroon and France Telecom’s local unit Orange Cameroon – which between them claimed around 13.36 million wireless customers at the end of September 2012, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. At the same date, penetration of cellular services stood at around 60% of the population.
In other news, the Cameroon Tribune reports that MTN Cameroon has inaugurated its 1,000th base station transceiver (BTS) site in Penda Mboko, a locality in the South West Region. The new BTS will provide network coverage to approximately 18,000 people within a 35km radius in neighbouring villages, including three strategic Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) camps.