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Guinea Telecom battles to attract partnerships

Guinea Telecom battles to attract partnerships

Huawei is not interested in being part of Guinea Telecom, a new operator being positioned by the government of Guinea to replace the defunct national telecoms company, the Societe des Telecommunications de Guinee (Sotelgui).

Guinea Telecom is expected to help reduce telecom utility bills and provide the country with sovereignty in telecommunications - meaning the state will be less dependent on the services of foreign operators such as Cellcom, MTN and Orange.

However the process to fully establish the public telecom company requires the input of what officials describe as "technically reliable and financially robust partners".

The government is understood to have approached the Chinese multinational firm, but according to Moustapha Mamy Diaby, Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, the company said it was not interested in the operation.

According to local telecommunications experts the lack of interest from potential partners could be because of existing agreements they have in place with companies that Guinea Telecom would be looking to engage with.

In March 2019, Orange and Huawei signed an agreement for an Orange-Huawei IT Joint Innovation Center (JIC).

Orange's Stéphane Demartis said "it's an important milestone in the cooperation between Orange and Huawei in the IT domain."

Huawei also signed a similar joint business innovation MoU with MTN, and has a working relationship with Cellcom regarding a 4,000km national fibre optic network expansion.

As the search for partners continues, the government has affirmed its intention to divest new shares in GUILAB (Guinéenne de Large Bande), the country's largest telecommunications infrastructure operator and gateway to its international communications.

The state initially held a 100% stake in the company, but now holds 52.52% and there are plans to release a further 27.52% and this will reduce the overall stake to 25%.

Diaby hinted the government could be willing to reduce its stake to 10%.

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