Madagascar calls for operators to provide satcoms services

Madagascar calls for operators to provide satcoms services

According to local press reports an international tender notice has been launched in Madagascar for the provision of satellite services.

Regulator ARTEC reportedly launched the call late last week. It requests applications for licences from operators interesting in setting up and operating public satellite communication networks.

There seem to be two drivers for this move. One is the government decision to open up the telecommunications sector: a decree was published earlier this year aimed at fully liberalising the telecommunications sector, encouraging competition and reducing telecommunications costs. Measures have apparently been put in place to encourage operators to invest.

The other driver is coverage. Coverage of this island country off the southeastern coast of Africa – the world's fourth largest island – with a population of some 29 million has long been a challenge.

The Ministry of Digital Development, Digital Transformation, Posts and Telecommunications (MNDPT) has made clear its desire to extend connectivity to remote areas where terrestrial infrastructure is limited. 

There will be a governmental benefit too: satellites could make it possible to offer global coverage of the territory and thus connect the country's administrative buildings.

According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, the April 2023 liberalisation measures introduced two additional licences – a satellite licence authorising the deployment of public GMPCS, broadband satellite or VSAT networks; and a unified licence permitting an operator to offer the full range of fixed, mobile and data services via all authorised networks, as well as to lease infrastructure and provide wholesale capacity.

Interested parties will have until 28 March 2024 to make their submissions for the satcoms licences.

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