Cote d’Ivoire’s Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications de CI (ARTCI) has invited Expressions of Interest (EoI) for a new telecoms concession in an effort to ‘revitalise the market’. Going forward, the watchdog seeks to reduce the number of licensees to four ‘global’ concession holders, which will include one new operator ‘capable of taking an active part in the development of the Ivorian telecoms market’, alongside three existing operators Orange, MTN and Moov.
The ARTCI has promised an ‘optimal redistribution of spectrum resources’, while the successful bidder will be expected to deploy networks capable of supporting mobile and fixed telephony, data transmission and internet access. The regulator notes that the pre-selection of operators will be primarily ‘based on reputation’. EoI must be submitted no later than 30 September 2015 and the list of shortlisted candidates will be revealed on 10 October 2015. Shortlisted operators will then have a period of one month to finalise their submission.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June this year the government reportedly ‘nationalised’ debt-wracked mobile trio GreenN Cote d’Ivoire, Comium Cote d’Ivoire and (the now defunct) Cafe Mobile, over unpaid taxes and licence fees, with a view to merging them into a single company. It was stated at that juncture that a stake in the consolidated mobile business would then be sold to a strategic partner. India’s Bharti Airtel, Nigeria’s Globacom and Vietnam’s Viettel Group have all been named as potential strategic partners.