Wana’s managing director Frederic Debord told reporters that the Moroccan CDMA-based fixed-wireless, 3G mobile and broadband operator will launch a new mobile network based on GSM technology next Tuesday (23 February 2010). As reported by Reuters, Debord said that Wana’s new cellular network would be launched under the brand name ‘Inwi’, with an initial capacity of two million subscriber connections. He added that he saw plenty of remaining growth potential in Morocco’s mobile market, where penetration surpassed 80% of the population at the end of September 2009 according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, which also shows that the market was led by Maroc Telecom (MT, 60.8%), ahead of Meditel (36.7%), with Wana serving the 2.5% remainder with its 3G CDMA2000 1xEV-DO services at that date. The database also noted that until September 2008 the Moroccan regulator classified all of Wana’s subscribers as fixed/fixed-wireless/limited mobility, and indeed the operator leads the country’s fixed line market ahead of incumbent PSTN operator MT. Debord continued his announcement by stating that Wana aims to undercut MT’s and Meditel’s 2G mobile prices with its GSM packages to quickly soak up latent demand. ‘We have to go fast to win more clients,’ he declared. Wana, which won its 2G mobile licence almost exactly a year ago, chose Huawei Technologies of China as sole supplier of GSM/UMTS infrastructure in August 2009, tasking it with the rollout of 1,500 2G/3G base stations in a five-month first phase. In addition to low-cost GSM services, Wana aims to provide a wide range of 3G W-CDMA-based services over the new network such as video calling, videoconferencing, streaming media and mobile internet.
It has also been confirmed that Wana’s 31% shareholder Zain Group will not offload its stake as part of its proposed sale of African assets to India’s Bharti Airtel. Wana is 51% owned by powerful Moroccan conglomerate Omnium Nord Afrique (ONA) with 18% publicly listed, according to GlobalComms.