ISP Gulfsat Madagascar, which operates under the Blueline banner, has become the country’s fourth mobile operator, reports L’Express De Madagascar, having launched 3.75G wireless services on 2 June under the ‘bip’ brand. Speaking at a press conference held in the capital Antananarivo upon launch, Carlos Yanogo, Mobile Business Unit Director at Blueline is cited as saying: ‘Blueline becomes a mobile operator in its own right. Our network covers the entire territory of Madagascar.’ The move will see Blueline compete with the local operations of rivals Airtel, Telma and Orange in a market of around ten million subscribers, while it is believed that SIM cards for the service, with the 039 prefix, are now available to purchase.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that Blueline has offered 3G mobile broadband services since January 2010 by dint of an MVNO agreement with the wireless arm of fixed line incumbent Telma. In December 2014, meanwhile, the operator launched the country’s first 4G time division duplex LTE (TD-LTE) network, accessible via wireless modem, with coverage restricted to Antananarivo.