Morocco plans to launch tenders for 4G mobile phone licenses by the end of the year, the Telecommunications Regulatory National Agency (ANRT) said on Tuesday in a statement carried by state news agency MAP.
Morocco wants to be one of the first African countries to get the fourth generation (4G) telecom services, the statement said.
"We will launch the tenders to award 4G licenses by the end of the year, and the opening of the service is expected in 2014" Azdine El Mountassir Billah, the head of ANRT said, quoted by MAP. "It is not a luxury, it is a must," he added.
The Morocco's telecom watchdog had originally planned to sell at least one 4G license in the fourth quarter of the last year, but El Mountassir Billah has not given any reasons for the delay.
Morocco's telecommunications market is dominated by Vivendi's Maroc Telecom, which is being sold, France Telecom affiliate Medi Telecom, and Inwi, owned by a holding company controlled by the Moroccan monarchy and Kuwait's Zain.
Mobile phone penetration hovers around 115 percent of Morocco's 34 million population, and the country had 4 million Internet subscribers by the end of March 2013, up 24.35 percent from the previous year, the statement said. (Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi)