Govt criticises poor QoS; poised to introduce 15% local ownership clause

8 May 2013

According to an unconfirmed report by Agence Ecofin, Ivorian ICT minister Bruno Kone has warned the country’s six operational mobile operators – MTN, Orange, Moov, Comium, GreenN and Aircom – that they risk forfeiting their licences if they do not improve the Quality of Service (QoS) currently offered to end-users. The matter will be revisited in six months’ time, and if the government finds no improvement it will take action against the offending cellcos.

In other news, Kone also indicated that all six cellcos will be forced to offer 15% of their share capital to local investors. Although market newcomer Aircom is 100% locally owned, it seems likely that most of its rivals will be forced to offload shares to local partners, with GreenN and Comium currently wholly-owned by Libya’s LAP Green Network and Lebanon’s Comium Group respectively. Meanwhile, Moov is owned by Ivorian firm Atlantique Telecom, which is itself wholly-owned by UAE-based Etisalat. Only Orange and MTN are already believed to have local shareholders on board, with their respective parent companies holding 85.00% and 67.67% of the share capital, respectively.

Finally, the future of regulatory body L’Agence des Telecommunications de Cote d’Ivoire (ATCI) has been thrown into doubt by a posting on the watchdog’s website titled ‘Liquidation of ATCI’. The article suggests that the regulator is set to be phased out and replaced by a two-pronged regulatory power, comprised of l’Autorite Nationale de Regulation des Telecommunications de Cote d’Ivoire (ARTCI) et l’Agence Ivoirienne de Gestion des Frequences Radioelectriques (AIGF). Creditors are invited to lodge any outstanding claims with the ATCI by 9 May.

Côte d'Ivoire, Aircom (Cafe Mobile), Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications de CI (ARTCI), Comium Cote d'Ivoire (Koz), GreenN Cote d'Ivoire (formerly Oricel), Moov Africa Cote d'Ivoire, MTN Cote d'Ivoire (incl. MTN Business), Orange Cote d'Ivoire (incl. CI-Telecom)