The licences will have a duration of 15 years and are likely to have an automatic extension of five years if the operator meets the terms of its licence. Potential bidders must be either a telecommunications operator or a consortium that includes an operator which either has an equity interest of at least 10 per cent in the consortium or which has been retained to provide operational and management services. The licences are likely to generate strong interest given the country’s underdeveloped and dilapidated mobile network. According to NCMC, mobile penetration stands at about 15-20 per cent of the 27 million population. The regulator is also pressing ahead with national and provincial licences for local telecommunications services. It is expected to issue a full tender in late February to provide fixed wireless local loop (WLL) services, including voice telephony and internet services. It received proposals from 10 entities in mid-January (MEED 27:1:06).