The government of Mozambique has announced it is ready to license new operators in the country’s fixed line market, following the ending of Telecomunicacoes de Mocambique (TDM’s) monopoly late last year. Reuters quotes Transport and Communications Minister Paulo Zucula as saying: ‘We want to encourage local and foreign companies to invest in the fixed phone network. If you come up with a proposal today, I will approve it, and this is immediate.’
TeleGeography’s Globalcomms database writes that the Mozambique fixed line market is poorly developed compared with others in sub-Saharan Africa. The lack of investment in TDM has been exacerbated by other factors, namely the protracted civil war which caused significant damage to the network, and heavy flooding in the late 1990s which wreaked more havoc on the already crumbling PSTN. On top of this, the number of main lines in service is falling because people are abandoning the PSTN in favour of other alternatives, such as cellular networks or private wireless in the local loop (WiLL) systems. As a result, the number of main lines in service stands at 78,000, down from a high of 90,000 in 2001. In comparison, there are more than 3.6 million mobile phone subscribers in the country signed up with one of the two incumbents, mCel and Vodacom.