Gabon Telecom has switched on its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in capital city Libreville, GabonEco.com reports, with President Ali Bongo Ondimba welcoming Abdeslam Ahizoune, CEO of parent company Maroc Telecom, to the presidential palace on Friday 10 October to discuss the launch in person. Following the meeting, Mr Ahizoune told journalists: ‘Large investments have been made in order to realise this project, which was the subject of an agreement signed between the two countries during the last royal visit to Libreville. It is part of our efforts to contribute to the development of Gabon, on particular terms of telecommunications and ICT.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, alongside market leader Airtel Gabon, Gabon Telecom received a combined 3G/4G licence from the government in March this year. While Airtel unveiled its 3.5G HSPA+ network the following month, Gabon Telecom bided its time before jumping straight to 4G. Gabon Telecom has claimed that the launch makes it the first mobile operator in Central Africa to launch LTE.
In addition to their discussion of 4G, some local press reports have noted that President Ondimba personally pressed Mr Ahizoune regarding his plans for Gabon Telecom’s new sister company, Moov Gabon. In May 2014 Etisalat of the UAE completed the takeover of majority control of Maroc Telecom, before agreeing to sell its Atlantique Telecom subsidiaries (including Moov Gabon) to Maroc Telecom as part of an operational overhaul – leaving the latter with two operational units in Gabon. The outcome of these discussions was not reported.