MTN Cote d’Ivoire begins network migration amid rumours ARTCI will revoke 2.5GHz spectrum

15 Mar 2016

MTN Cote d’Ivoire is in the process of migrating users of its 2.5GHz WiMAX service onto the 800MHz spectrum band, ICT4Africa reports, citing official company correspondence. The formal switchover will reportedly take place on 1 April; the company’s lower-band network has been operational since 7 March. While no official reason has been given by the telco for the move, ICT4Africa claims that the higher band spectrum has been rescinded by the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications in Cote d’Ivoire (Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications de CI, ARTCI), ahead of its planned re-licensing programme (see below). Based on data provided by the watchdog, MTN closed out 2015 with 44,076 WiMAX subscribers and an additional 508 fixed line customers, making it the country’s second largest broadband provider in terms of end-users behind Orange. The legacy network is believed to be live in 24 cities.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in September 2015 the ARTCI 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 overall number of licensees by instituting just 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 incumbents Orange, MTN and Moov.