Guinea’s telecoms minister Oye Guilavogui has announced that defunct state-owned full-service telecoms operator Societe des Telecoms de Guinee (Sotelgui) is set to resume its operations by the end of this month. Domestic news source Africaguinee quotes the minister as saying: ‘We expect to launch the first call over Sotelgui’s [network] by the end of August. There is no doubt Sotelgui will start very soon.’ The government representative also disclosed that the ‘modernisation and expansion’ of Sotelgui’s infrastructure is still ongoing; in January 2013 the operator secured a USD350 million loan from the Chinese government for the construction of a 4,000km national fibre-optic backbone, with Huawei Technologies subsequently awarded the USD238 million rollout contract.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Sotelgui’s financial situation has been gradually deteriorating since April 2010, and the company is reportedly owed USD22.5 million by the government, following years of non-payment for services. In February 2013 local media reports emerged suggesting that the state-owned operator had gone bankrupt and was in the process of entering receivership. Indeed, in October 2013, telecoms watchdog Autorite de Regulation des Postes et Telecom (ARPT) confirmed that Sotelgui was indeed no longer operational, reporting no subscribers to the company’s services for two consecutive quarters (1Q13 and 2Q13).