The French Alcatel Group has recently begun to expand the cellular telephone network along the coastal districts of Tunisia, while the Swedish Ericsson company has done the same in the country’s interior districts.
These efforts, reported by Al-Hayat, follow the awarding last spring of the local tender to these companies. This expansion project aims toward the installment of 300,000 new cellular telephones by the end of 2000.
The current cellular phone network operates mainly along the coastal region of the Mediterranean Sea, which holds most of the domestic industrial complexes, tourist sites and major cities. The present aim is to cover the remaining areas of Tunisia by the end of 2001.
The existing network involves an international roaming agreement with 43 countries worldwide, making the use of cellular phones attractive for tourists and businessmen visiting this North African state.
The Tunisian telecommunications sector has experienced a rapid growth over the past few years, as part of the overall desire to advance the country’s services sector, especially tourism. Tunisia’s tourism sector is responsible for over $1 billion in annual forex revenues.
As part of the ninth economic development plan in Tunisia (1997-2001), the government plans to invest a total $1.5 billion in the telecommunications sector. This is a big leap, compared with the $820 million allocated for this purpose in the previous plan (1992-1996). — (Albawaba-MEBG)