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Mauritania preps for 4G and fourth operator

Mauritania preps for 4G and fourth operator

Eleven years after Mauritania telecommunications firm Chinguitel rolled out 3G services for the first time in the country, plans are now underway to introduce 4G.

The West African country's government is scheduled to issue an operating license to a fourth operator, according to an announcement by the Mauritanian Regulatory Authority.

The regulator issued a 'Notice of Invitation to Tender for Licensing for Establishment and Operation of Electronic Communications Networks and Services open to the public in Mauritania'.

According to the notice, the winner of the license will be able to offer 2G, 3G and 4G communication services nationally.

This is the first 4G license issued in the country which is home to three licensed telecoms service providers - Mattel, Mauritel and Chinguitel - that provide 2G and 3G services.

The regulator said existing 2G and 3G operators can bid for 4G licenses, while the newly introduced fourth operator can also apply for a 2G/3G/4G operating license.

The authority revealed that the maximum number of licenses likely to be awarded at the end of the call for tenders is four - three for 4G and one for 2G / 3G / 4G. This implies that each of the existing operators will be able to secure a 4G license while the market preps for a new entrant.

Bidders will have to submit their applications to the regulator by 5 December 2018, with tender documents understood to be available for 100,000 Mauritanian Ouguiya (approximately US$3,000).

Experts believe the telecoms sector in Mauritania still has enough space for operators. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), while Mauritania has an average of 92.2 mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, mobile broadband subscriptions stood at 30.3%.

Only 20.8% of individuals in the country are using the internet while 14.3% of households have internet access.

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