The Algerian government is reportedly reluctant to privatise domestic incumbent Algerie Telecom (AT), with Zohra Derdouri, Algeria’s Minister of Post and Information Technology and Communication, cited by domestic news source Al Moudjahid as saying: ‘The opening of the capital of Algerie Telecom is not the best solution.’ The minister added: ‘One country, whatever it is, must have an operator of its own, for, inter alia, to preserve its security and sovereignty … I have not received any guidance in this regard. But in the case [where there is open request for AT capital], I will defend my position until I am proven wrong.’
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, plans for privatisation of state-owned AT have been mooted for several years but have come to nothing. In February 2009 AT chairman Foamed Benhamadi claimed that opening up the company to outside investment was no longer necessary and that plans were under way to pump EUR100 million (USD137.5 million) into the development of fibre-optic networks over the next five years. However, in October 2013 local media reports revealed that the Conseil des participations de l’Etat (CPE), the agency managing the Algerian government’s stake in state-owned business entities, was planning a public sale of the shares of ten nationalised companies, including AT. Further, in April 2014 it was suggested that the government was planning to put 20% of Mobilis’ share capital up for sale on the country’s bourse. Previously, both Orange Group of France and UK-based Vodafone have expressed interest in entering the Algerian market as part of collaboration with domestic operators.