Mozambique’s Transport and Communications Minister Tomas Salomao has found himself the subject of a stinging attack from local newspaper Domingo which alleges he is taking extraordinary measures to protect the interests of South African mobile operator Vodacom. The claims centre on allegations that Salomao is putting pressure on domestic PTO TDM and its mobile arm M-Cel to double their tariffs in order to entice Vodacom to finally enter the market. The South African cellco bid for and won the country’s second mobile licence last year, but it paid USD15 million for the concession – twice that offered by the next nearest bid – and has since realised it overpaid for the frequency. Vodacom has made no real payment for the concession, instead sending a government-backed guarantee to a Mozambique commercial bank that it will pay, but until it gives its authorisation the Mozambique government can not lay its hands on the money. Domingo claims that Salomao is effectively trying to manipulate the company to finally resolve the situation.
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