Morocco to auction 4G licence in fourth quarter
RABAT May 21 (Reuters) - Morocco will launch a tender to sell at least one 4G licence in the fourth quarter to help reach its 10-year goal of providing access to broadband services for the whole population, the telecoms regulator said on Monday.
In emailed replies to Reuters questions, Telecommunications Regulatory National Agency (ANRT) said it had yet to decide how many licences would be up for grabs in the tender.
"A study will be launched soon to fix the terms and conditions for 4G licensing ... including the particular issue of the number of licences to be awarded," ANRT said.
The deployment of 4G technologies "is a flagship of the National Plan for High- and Very High-speed Internet that was recently adopted by ANRT's board", it said.
It aims to "generalize access to broadband telecommunication services for the entire population of the Kingdom within 10 years' time", ANRT said.
On Friday, business weekly La Vie Economique quoted the head of ANRT as saying that the tender may allow the entry of a fourth operator to the market.
However, ANRT stopped short of specifically confirming that.
"The planned tender for 4G technology will be open to competition ... Any interested candidate will be allowed to compete. Bids will be reviewed under specifications and tender documents that will be issued later," ANRT said.
ANRT plans to award the licences at the start of 2013 and expects they will be operational by the end of that year at the earliest, it added.
Morocco's telecommunications market is dominated by Vivendi's Maroc Telecom, France Telecom affiliate Meditelecom, and Wana, owned by a holding company controlled by the Moroccan monarchy and Kuwait's Zain .
While mobile penetration hovers around 110 percent of the 33 million population, Internet subscribers reached only 3.2 million by the end of 2011, rising 70 percent from the previous year, ANRT data shows. (Reporting By Souhail Karam; Editing by Will Waterman)
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