Vietnamese telecoms group Viettel was the only applicant for Burkina Faso’s fourth mobile licence, according to APA citing government sources, as reported by StarAfrica.com. The West African nation is currently considering Viettel’s application and is expected to make a decision on whether to award the ten-year ‘global’ licence, which covers fixed and mobile telephony and internet services, to the military-run telecoms company in the next few months. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in 2012 the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (ARCEP) resumed the process to license a new fixed and mobile telecoms operator, following an unsuccessful auction two years earlier. In April 2013 the watchdog announced that it had relaunched the tender process for the concession; interested parties were initially required to submit bids by 10 July 2013, but this was subsequently extended to 24 July 2013, and since then no further developments on the procedure have been made public.
If successful in its application, Viettel would join three network operators in the mobile sector: national fixed and mobile operator the Office National des Telecommunications (Onatel), in which Maroc Telecom holds a majority stake; Indian-owned Airtel Burkina Faso; and local operator Telecel Faso. At the end of September 2013 the trio had a combined mobile subscriber base of 11.19 million, translating to a population penetration of around 63%.