Mali’s third mobile licence to be revoked?

23 Sep 2013

Mali’s third mobile licence, which was won by Alpha Telecom Mali, a joint venture between Monaco Telecom and local holding company Planor Afrique, could be rescinded amid claims of non-payment for the concession and allegations of irregularities in the award process. According to TMT Finance, which cites local press reports, despite the new licensee having made an initial payment of XOF33 billion (USD67.8 million) for its concession in February 2013, a second payment of XOF22 billion which was due by mid-May has yet to be paid. Suggestions that the licence could be revoked come as the country’s new president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who was sworn in earlier this month, had previously pledged transparent governance, and is now said to be being urged to take action on the matter.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, while the Malian government initially revealed it was planning to award a third wireless licence in June 2008 as part of the country’s structural reform programme, little more was reported for three years, when in June 2011 the then minister of new technologies, Modibo Ibrahim Toure, outlined plans to award a concession before the end of the year. Further delays followed, however, before it was finally revealed in the latter half of 2012 that Alpha Telecom Mali had emerged victorious in a tender that actually took place at the start of that year, with the winner’s XOF55 billion bid beating out offers from both India’s Bharti Airtel (XOF19.7 billion) and Vietnamese military-backed venture Viettel Corporation (XOF10.9 billion).