Tunisia’s Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy has awarded three mobile network operators (MNOs) a licence to operate fourth-generation (4G) networks on 15 March.

Ooredoo Tunisia, Orange Tunisia and Tunisie Telecom have been authorised to start commercial operations of their 4G networks by 30 March, according to local media report.

It is understood that the three operators are implementing the long-term evolution (LTE) 4G standard. A 4G network offers a theoretical data transfer speed of up to 100 megabits per second (mbps), compared to up to 21.6 mbps for 3.5G or 7.2 mbps for 3G.

The MNOs offered bids ranging from TND155m ($77m) to TND160m for the licence allocation, with Ooredoo Tunisia offering the highest bid.

Orange Tunisia, however, is understood to have begun promoting its 4G services prior to the license award, offering 4G USB modems and routers if customers trade in their old 3G devices.