Morocco plans to launch LTE licence tenders this year

Morocco plans to launch tenders for LTE licences by the end of the year according to the Telecommunications Regulatory National Agency (ANRT), Reuters reported. The move would help fulfil Morocco's ambition to be one of the first African countries to offer the higher-speed mobile services.

"We will launch the tenders to award 4G licences by the end of the year, and the opening of the service is expected in 2014," said Azdine El Mountassir Billah, the head of ANRT, according to Reuters. "It is not a luxury, it is a must," he added. Reuters was quoting a report that appeared in the MAP state news agency.

Mobile phone penetration is around 115 per cent of Morocco's 34 million people. The country also had 4 million Internet subscribers by the end of March 2013, up 24.35 per cent from the previous year.

Morocco's telecoms market is dominated by Vivendi's Maroc Telecom, France Telecom affiliate Medi Telecom, and Inwi, owned by a holding company controlled by the Moroccan monarchy and Kuwait's Zain.

UAE operator Etisalat and Ooredoo of Qatar have both made offers for Vivendi's 53 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom, but Etisalat said this week that it has not yet heard from Vivendi on its offer. The UAE operator also said it has not made a bid for the Moroccan government's 30 per cent stake in Maroc Telecom, and did not plan to do so, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (via Total Telecom)

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