Algeria’s Communications Ministry is looking to issue the country’s first third-generation (3G) licence. The tender specifications will be available mid-September. The licence will be auctioned in early 2012. The licence is thought to be worth $41m.

The auction will be open to the country’s three mobile operators, Algerie Telecom’s Mobilis, Orascom’s Djezzy and Wataniya Telecom’s Nedjma.

Wataniya Telecom has already expressed an interest in bidding for the licence.

Plans to launch 3G were announced by the Post and Telecommunications Regulations Authority (ARPT) back in May 2008.

Algeria’s telecommunications sector is one of the more promising in the region. It is has a mobile penetration rate of about 90 per cent and one of the highest tele-densities in Africa. Its relatively well developed infrastructure includes a national fibre backbone and one of Africa’s first fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments.