By Peter Conmy
The Moroccan telecoms market is undergoing a transformation with a raft of contracts and licences having been awarded over the past few weeks.
The Moroccan telecoms market is undergoing a transformation with a raft of contracts and licences having been awarded over the past few weeks. Norwegian telco Telenor last month announced that it has been granted one of three licences enabling it to establish a VSAT satellite network.
This will be used to provide international voice, data and internet services. Telenor plans to invest NOK25 million in developing its Moroccan services during 2000.
US equipment supplier Motorola said that it had won a US $46 million GSM network expansion contract with Morocco’s state-owned mobile operator Maroc Telecom. This was the second such contract signed between the two companies in the past twelve months.
Under the terms of the latest agreement, Motorola will improve Maroc’s network coverage in the northern cities of Casablanca, Tangier, Fes, Meknes and Tetouan.
Last week Maroc Telecom awarded a EUR60 million contract to Nokia covering the provision of new base stations, network management systems and a short messaging service centre. These will serve the northwestern cities of Casablanca and Rabat.
By 30th September 1999 there were 195,000 mobile subscribers in Morocco, a cellular penetration of just 0.58%. However, the market is expected to take off in 2000 following the award of a second GSM licence in July 1999. The new operator, Médi Telecom, is backed by a consortium led by Portugal Telecom and Spanish PTO Telefónica.
In a separate development French equipment supplier Alcatel has won a Eur35 million contract to supply a nationwide GSM network and a fibre-optic backbone network in the African country of Bénin. The contract was awarded by a consortium led by US-based Titan Corporation and a group of African financial institutions.