The other bidders for the licence are Sudanese Egyptian Telecom Company, and two companies identified as Toma Engineering Company and Al-Batreeq.

The evaluation of the proposals, both technical and financial, is ongoing,. The licence is to be awarded by mid-2005, when the exclusivity arrangement for the state-owned fixed-line operator Sudan Telecommunications Company (Sudatel) is due to expire.

Considerable potential is offered by the local Sudan’s fixed-line market which, according to an August report by Amman-based Arab Advisers Group, has only 2.8 per cent penetration (MEED 27:8:04).