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Chad Government Plans Privatisation of State-Owned Mobile Network

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The African country of Chad has launched a privatisation of its third largest mobile network, nearly four years after a previous attempt to sell it broke down.

The government said that it aims to sell a majority 80% stake in Sotel before July this year.

"The government intends to liberalize the telecom sector in order to mobilize all the required energy to provide consumers with quality products in a competitive and open framework," Daoussa Deby Itno, Minister of Post and New Information Technologies, said.

The government had agreed to a deal to sell a 60% stake in the phone network to the Libyan African Investment Portfolio in 2010 for USD90 million, but that was scrapped due to the Libyan civil war.

Mobile penetration in the country is less than 40 percent, compared with the 60-80 per cent by its neighbours, Nigeria and Cameroon.

The country's two other mobile networks are Airtel and Tigo. The government has pledged not to issue any more mobile operator licenses.

"The privatisation of Sotel will be the only opportunity for strategic investors to enter this high growth market. The government is looking for strategic investors who will invest to transform the incumbent into the leader for broadband services across the country, in both fixed and wireless," said the government statement.

Expressions of interest have to be submitted by the 21st February to be considered in the tender.

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Tags: sotel  Chad