Orascom Telecom Tunisia (OTT), the first private firm to enter the Tunisian communications market, is set to commence operations by December-end 2002, a month ahead of schedule. The network’s cellular services will initially be limited to the capital Tunis, and extend to cover 80 percent of the country’s populated area within 12 months.
OTT will launch the North African country’s second GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network under a 15-year license, which grants the company four years of exclusivity operations in the Tunisian market.
OTT is a joint venture between the Cairo-based conglomerate Orascom Telecom (OT) and Kuwait’s National Mobile Telecommunications Company (Wataniya Telecom), which recently acquired 50 percent of OTT for a total of $113.5 million. OT is the majority shareholder in the Consortium of Arab and International investors that owns the remaining 50 percent through its controlling stake in OTuH, a holding Company that owns 35 percent of OTT.
Tunisia’s 9.6-million strong population averaged a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per Capita of $2,084 in 2001. Tunisia Telecom services 920,000 fixed lines subscribers, while the North African country reached a fixed line penetration of 9.6 percent. Cellular subscribers amount to 350,000, with mobile phone penetration reaching 3.7 percent in 2001, according to ITU & Cellular News. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )