Bruno Nabagne Kone, head of the Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications in Cote d’Ivoire (Autorite de Regulation des Telecommunications de CI, ARTCI), has told reporters that the watchdog is set to authorise the formal use of 4G LTE technology from the first quarter of 2016. Speaking at a media event to mark the launch of the latest segment of the government’s fibre-optic backbone, the minister said: ‘The success that has accompanied the introduction of 3G has encouraged the government to consider the launch of fourth-generation mobile services before the end of the first quarter of 2016’.
Last month TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that the ARTCI has raised the mobile licence renewal fees due to be paid by the country’s operators in 2016 to XOF100 billion (USD162.5 million), with the regulator also opting to cut the duration of the concessions, from 20 years to 15. While it has not been stated explicitly, it seems likely that the renewed concessions will permit 4G functionality. Running in parallel, the ARTCI is evaluating applications for a new ‘global’ telecoms licence holder, which it hopes will be able to compete with Orange, MTN and Moov. To that end the regulator has promised an ‘optimal redistribution of spectrum resources’ to help even the playing field.