ARTCI slaps USD163m price-tag on licence renewals

18 Nov 2015

The Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications in Cote d’Ivoire (Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications de CI, ARTCI) has reportedly raised the mobile licence renewal fees due to be paid by the country’s operators to XOF100 billion (USD162.5 million). According to Agence Ecofin Orange, MTN and Moov were informed of the decision by ICT minister Bruno Nabane Kone, with the regulator also opting to cut the duration of the concessions, from 20 years to 15. The news site claims that all three cellcos have voiced their disapproval at the licence fee hike, arguing that they are already unfairly burdened given the investment they must make to improve coverage and quality of service (QoS). By comparison, the original 20-year concessions were priced at XOF40 billion.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database confirms that the respective concessions held by Orange and MTN are due to expire in 2016. Orange launched in October 1996 under the name Societe Ivoirienne de Mobiles (SIM), which traded as Ivoiris, while MTN Cote d’Ivoire was established in 1996 as Loteny Telecom – a partnership between Access Telecom and Atlantique Telecom – and launched GSM services in October that year under the brand name ‘Telecel’. Moov, meanwhile, has a full ten years left on its existing licence, having entered the market in July 2006.