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Algeria to delay Algérie Télécom privatisation

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­Algeria’s state owned telecoms operator, Algérie Télécom is now unlikely to be privatized for at least two to three years as the company implements an improvement program to make it more commercial. The company is the country’s dominant landline operator, and owns its second largest mobile network operator, Moblis.

The Reuters news agency reported Algérie Télécom’s CEO, Moussa Belhamadi as telling state radio that “I think the Algerian government will not open Algerie Telecom’s capital before allowing it to be competitive at the regional and international level.” adding that “It’s up to the government to make a decision, but, according to our development strategy, the group may be competitive regionally and internationally in two or three years,”

Algeria’s government has been planning to partially privatize Algérie Télécom for several years. The sale was expected to be take place by end of 2006, with the government selling 35% of the operator in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). However the procedures have not been finalized and the tender was yet not launched, but expected to take place in 2008.

Algérie Telecom remained the monopoly fixed operator till 2005. The monopoly status ended in May 2005, when the ARPT awarded the Consortium Algérien des Telecommunication (CAT) a 15-year renewable license to provide fixed, international and rural services.

Algeria’s fixed and cellular revenues are projected to exceed US$4.7 billion in 2011, growing from around US$4.1 billion in 2007 reported the Arab Advisors Group earlier this year – although they said that was conditional in part on the privatisation of Algérie Télécom.

According to figures from the Mobile World database, the country has three operators with the following market shares, Djezzy (39.7%), Moblis (36.4%) and Nedjma with 21.5%. The country itself ended last year with just under 28.2 million subscribers, representing a population penetration level of 84%.


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