Open competition in Libya’s currently closed mobile market appears to be back on the agenda, following comments made by deputy minister of telecommunications Atef Al Bahri, who confirmed ‘plans were underway’ to make it easier for privately-owned telcos to enter the sector.
MedAfricaTimes reports that a draft bill was completed in March 2013, and is now awaiting congressional approval. Al Bahri also confirmed that the government also granted 25 ISP licences and 23 VSAT licences to private companies, as well as outlining plans to continue with the country’s WiMAX rollout plans. Apparently the target is to connect 100,000 users in 100 new cities.
One of the options previously outlined was the aim of offering a pair of management contracts with state-controlled Libyan Post, Telecommunication and Information Technology Co (LIPTIC), which owns the country's two mobile operators Al Madar and Libyana, as well as the county’s main internet provider.
As previously reported by TMT Finance, the tender process was deemed to have been postponed or canned altogether, despite a frenzied interest from companies such as Etisalat, Digicel, Vimpelcom, Ooredoo, Orange, Vodafone and Airtel, which have all at some point expressed an ambition to enter the Libyan market.