The president of Cameroon, Paul Biya, has signed a decree that approves the award of the country’s third mobile licence to Vietnamese-owned telecoms group Viettel, Agence Ecofin reports. The operator is now authorised to begin installing network infrastructure for the provision of wireless services across the country. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Cameroon’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications announced in December 2012 that Viettel had won a tender for the country’s third mobile licence. The company has committed to invest nearly XAF200 billion (USD400 million) in the rollout of a mobile network that will cover 81% of Cameroon’s territory from launch. Outside of its domestic market, Viettel also operates in Cambodia, Laos, Haiti, Mozambique, Peru and Timor-Leste. In Cameroon, it will compete with two established mobile companies – South Africa-based MTN Cameroon and France Telecom-Orange’s local unit Orange Cameroon – which between them claimed around 13.33 million wireless customers at the end of March 2013, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. At the same date, penetration of cellular services stood at around 64% of the population.
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