The first tender calls for the supply and installation of 1.5 million fixed lines; the second involves the supply and installation of a 6,000-kilometre-long, country-wide optical fibre network; and the third calls for the supply, installation and management of a national control system to monitor the broadcasting frequency spectrum (MEED 18:6:04).

At least 10 companies – including some that have never bid for work before in the local market – are understood to have purchased the tender documents. They include Cisco Systemsand LucentTechnologiesboth of the US, the UK’s Marconi Group, Italy’s Pirelli Energy Cables & Systems, NortelNetworksof Canada, South Korea’s Samsung Corporation, France’s Alcatel, Germany’s Siemens, Ericssonof Sweden and ZTEand Huawei Technologies, both of China.

Libya’s telecoms infrastructure has suffered from underinvestment and a lack of up-to-date technology as a result of the sanctions regime. Tripoli has stated its intention to invest $400 million a year over the coming decade to bring the fixed-line and GSM networks up to scratch.

In January, ZTE signed an estimated $42 million contract with GPTC to install a new GSM network covering 46 towns and cities across the country for state-owned GSM operator Libyana, which intends to start operations by the end of the summer (MEED 16:1:04).