Viettel secures Cameroon’s third mobile licence?

11 Dec 2012

Vietnamese telecoms company Viettel Group has allegedly won Cameroon’s third mobile telephony licence, according to a report by Agence Ecofin which cites a statement from Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Jean-Pierre Biyiti bi Essam. Last month the ministry announced that four companies had submitted a bid for the concession to establish and operate a wireless network in the country, namely: military-run Viettel; Maroc Telecom, part of the Vivendi Group; Indian telecoms group Bharti Airtel, which acquired the majority of Kuwait-based Zain’s African assets in June 2010; and Technologie et Systeme d’information/Korea Telecom. According the report, Viettel Cameroon has committed to invest nearly XAF200 billion (USD394 million) in the rollout of a mobile network that will cover 81% of Cameroon’s territory from launch. Outside of its domestic market, Viettel also operates in Cambodia, Laos, Haiti and Mozambique, and holds telecoms licences in Peru and Timor-Leste. In Cameroon, it will compete with two established mobile companies – South Africa-based MTN Cameroon and France Telecom-Orange’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.