The Libyan government has abruptly halted a tender to manage the country’s monopoly telecoms operator, state-owned Libyan Post, Telecommunication and Information Technology Co (LIPTIC), and its wholly-owned cellular subsidiaries Libyana and Almadar Aljaded Reuters reports, citing Etisalat CEO Ahmad Julfar. The chief executive confirmed: ‘From their side, the government has put it on hold. We are yet to hear from them, but Libya is a good market’. No official explanation from the Libyan government has been forthcoming.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in January 2013 a whole host of international players had expressed an interest in securing a foothold in the lucrative Libyan market, including Etisalat of the UAE, France Telecom-Orange (FT-Orange), Digicel Group of Jamaica, the UK’s Vodafone Group, Vimpelcom of Russia, Qtel of Qatar (now Ooredoo) and India’s Bharti Airtel. However, FT-Orange’s Sofrecom unit – a consultancy firm which claims to have worked with ‘over 200 major players in over 100 countries’ – was said to be the clear front-runner, and already boasted pre-existing ties to Libyana. Vodafone is also in an advantageous position, having previously secured a branding agreement with Al Madar, which is also known as Al Madar Telecomm Company.