“Our last information at the start of the year suggested that the privatisation was still with the prime minister. Nothing has happened since then,” says Jamal al-Jarwan, chief executive officer of Etisalat International.

The government has delayed the privatisation because ministers have yet to decide whether to sell a controlling stake in the company to a foreign operator.

“They are talking about what level of capital to sell, but they would like to sell,” says Sidi Bouchenak, a board director at Algeria’s telecoms regulator.

Algerie Telecom, the country’s fixed-line telecoms monopoly and its second largest mobile operator does not publish any financial information and only announces unaudited customer numbers intermittently (MEED 17:2:08).