The Instituto Nacional de Comunicacoes de Mocambique (INCM) has confirmed that it intends to offer up five 2×5MHz spectrum blocks in the 790MHz-862MHz band in an auction set for June 2013. The deadline for applications has been set for 13 May, with the auction itself tentatively scheduled for 16 June. The base price for bidding has been set at USD30 million per concession.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the Mozambican mobile market is currently home to three operators: mCel, Vodacom Mozambique and Movitel, a subsidiary of Vietnam’s Viettel Group. In November 2010 Movitel saw its USD29 million for a cellular concession accepted by the government, despite UNI-Telecom, a joint venture between Angola’s Unitel and Mozambique’s Energy Capital, bidding USD4 million more. Portugal Telecom’s TMN unit brought up the rear, with a bid of USD25 million.
The introduction of five 800MHz spectrum blocks is likely to see long-time suitors PT and Unitel renewing their respective interests in Mozambique. With wireless penetration standing at just 47.1% at 31 December 2012, the relatively untapped market is likely to pique the interest of international telecoms players, with a total of 22 bidders expressing an interest in the third mobile licence, including Kuwait’s Zain Group and France Telecom-Orange. Last week Unitel International Holdings, which is controlled by Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, succeeded in its application for Sao Tome and Principe’s second mobile licence, as part of its wider strategy to increase its telecoms portfolio across Portuguese-speaking territories.