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17 février 2009

Bintel to launch Gabon’s fourth mobile network in Q309

Gabon’s fourth mobile operator licence has been awarded to Bintel, a Bahrain-based company which operates networks in the Central African Republic and Somaliland, and which expects to launch services by the third quarter of this year.

Bintel has committed an initial investment of US$50 million to its Gabon operation, with industry veteran Gilles Villenaut having been appointed general manager for the Gabon subsidiary. The operator will provide voice and data services, including high speed data and video conferencing.

"Bintel’s entry into Gabon will further intensify competition in the highly liberalised domestic market, which will ultimately work to the advantage of end users who would have a wider portfolio of services to choose from, and can also benefit from more competitive pricing," stated Alawi Baroum, CEO of Bintel.

Gabon’s mobile penetration rate stands at 90 per cent, with 1.3 million mobile subscribers, according to ARTEL, the country’s telecommunications regulator.

Zain leads the market with 58 per cent market share, followed by Gabon Telecom at 34 per cent, and Moov with eight per cent. Moov is the brand of Atlantique Telecom in West Africa, which is owned by the UAE’s Etisalat, while Morocco’s Maroc Telecom acquired a 51 per cent stake from the government in Gabon Telecom in 2007.

Bintel is targeting a six to eight per cent share of the Gabon market within its first year, within an anticipated market share of 30 per cent within 10 years.
Bintel launched mobile services in the Central African Republic in mid-2007 and a network in Somaliland in mid-2008, and purchased a majority stake in Telesonique, a Swiss-based wholesale traffic company.

February 17th, 2009
STC’s Viva will launch a mobile commerce solution in Kuwait the operator announced today, using a platform provided by Irish firm Macalla.

The third mobile operator, which only launched services in December last year, will provide payment services in Arabic and English directly to Viva subscribers and also via its dealer and agent network.
Rollout is being undertaken on a phased basis, and service channels will include mobile, kiosks and online, with supporting payments done by mobile wallet, cash, debit or credit card.
STC operates telecom networks in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa and Malaysia, and will launch a mobile network in Bahrain, but has not stated yet whether it will extend the service to its other subsidiaries.