The other competitor for the limited mobility licence was Egypt’s Orascom Telecom. The licence is for an inter-urban and international fixed-line network, including limited mobility services within a diameter of 35 kilometres.

Maroc Connect’s successful bid is supported by guarantees from local financier ONA Groupand state energy company Office National de l’Electricite (ONE), which will provide access to its fibre optic network. The company will also make use of code division multiple access (CDMA) and WiMAX technology, a powerful upgrade to existing wireless broadband services.

Meditel, a subsidiary of Spain’s Telefonica and Portugal Telecom, was in July awarded three contracts to provide local loop, national and international fixed-line services.

A third GSM licence for the provision of exclusively third-generation (3G) services will be granted in 2007, alongside 3G licences for the two incumbent GSM operators, Mediteland Maroc Telecom(MEED 9:9:05; 29:7:05; 15:7:05).