Stan Motsa, acting chief executive officer of the Swaziland Communications Commission (SCC) has confirmed that Viettel-backed start-up Swavitel has submitted an application for the country’s second mobile licence. Domestic news outlet Times of Swaziland reports that the watchdog is currently working on developing the regulatory framework to issue a licence for a new mobile operator, with Mr Motsa saying: ‘It is my estimation that if everything goes well, [the licence could be issued] by the end of 2015… the expectation is that we should have considerations made by the end of 2015.’ Motsa noted that the legislation is still in its early stages: ‘We are drafting the legislation with help from experts provided by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as well as local stakeholders within the country’s communications sector’; the next stage is to compile and submit a complete draft to the cabinet, which would add its own input before the bill is tabled in Parliament for enactment into law. Further, Motsa added that, if granted permission, Swavitel would utilise the Swaziland Post and Telecommunication Corporations’ (SPTC’s) backbone infrastructure.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the first indications that Vietnamese telecoms group Viettel was interested in launching operations in Swaziland emerged in October 2014, with Motsa disclosing to the press that the new operator was also backed by ‘Mozambican business people’; Viettel’s Mozambican subsidiary Movitel went live in May 2012, becoming the group’s first African unit.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Viettel Group also holds mobile licences in Cameroon, Tanzania and Burundi, although the telco recently abandoned its bid to acquire a 70% stake in Telkom Kenya.