The prime minister of Morocco has approved the award of the country’s third 2G mobile licence to Wana, a subsidiary of domestic conglomerate Omnium Nord Afrique (ONA), after studying a recommendation by the National Agency of Telecommunications Regulation (ANRT). The award follows the launch of a tender by the ANRT on 30 October 2008, in accordance with its plan for the development of the telecoms sector (2004–08) and a decision by the regulator’s board in May 2008. After Wana submitted a bid by a deadline of 6 January 2009, an evaluation of its offer was made on technical and economic aspects, including commitments on infrastructure, coverage, quality of service, the diversity of product offerings and coherency of its business plan.
The 15-year nationwide licence includes frequencies in the 1800MHz band suitable for GSM-based services, but is technology-neutral. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that Wana (formerly Maroc Connect) won a 3G licence in July 2006, which it added to an existing concession to offer CDMA-based services, and will join rivals Maroc Telecom and Meditel in the 2G GSM-based market. According to the ANRT, the concession winner must undertake to make a significant investment and provide innovative services to meet market expectations and contribute to the improvement of telecoms facilities in Morocco. In addition to direct financial investment, Wana must help finance the redevelopment of the frequency spectrum under a budget of MAD36 million (USD4.6 million), the regulator said in its report.
According to GlobalComms, by the end of March 2008 Wana reported a total of 1.326 million voice and data customers, with 974,000 (nearly three-quarters) using limited mobility services. At the end of September 2008, the ANRT began classing some of Wana’s subscribers as fully mobile; at that date the regulator said the operator had 261,000 mobile customers.