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‘Libya to offer third mobile licence’

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A third mobile network licence in Libya could be opened up to bidders within three to six months, reports Bloomberg.

A Bloomberg report says this is according to a statement from the country’s communications and information technology minister, Usama Siala.

Increasingly privatising the telecoms sector in Libya is the motivation behind the move, as Libya’s two mobile operators, Libyana and Al Madar, are state-owned.

In 2009, United Arab Emirates telecoms firm Etisalat bid $825 million to obtain the third licence in Libya, but Libya’s government at the time cancelled the tender.

However, earlier this year, a board member of Kuwaiti headquartered mobile operator Zain said his firm is interested in bidding for a licence in Libya.

Research firm BuddeComm says that Libya’s telecoms market, though, is recovering from its civil war in 2011 that “crippled the country's economy and disrupted its telecommunications sector.”

“It is estimated that more than US$1 billion worth of telecom infrastructure has been destroyed, including about 20% of the country's cell sites,” says BuddeComm on its website.

But despite Libya’s economy having been hard hit and its telecoms sector being predominantly state-owned, the country has one of Africa’s highest mobile phone penetration rates at 265% at the end of 2012, according to BuddeComm figures.

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