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Libya invites bids for private phone licences

Libya announced today the launch of an international tender for the North African country's first private licences for a mobile and landline operator.

A spokesman for the state-owned General Telecommunication Authority, which currently controls the phone sector, told AFP the move was aimed at "stimulating the telecommunications market in Libya."

A GTA statement said the company would grant one fixed and mobile licence for Libyan territory to one service provider. Interested parties are invited to make a bid before May 13, with the winner expected to be announced in June.

The tender comes almost two years after Libya announced plans to privatise its mobile phone sector as part of a wider programme of economic reforms.

Libya has 700,000 land lines for a population of more than six million people, with the authorities aiming to upgrade that to two million lines.

State-owned Libyana and Al-Madar mobile operators have more than five million users, according to official figures released in 2008.

The tender comes almost two years after Libya announced plans to privatise its mobile phone sector as part of a wider programme of economic reforms.

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