Tunisia's state-controlled mobile network operator, Tunisie Telecom has been awarded a 3G license, the Reuters news agency has reported, citing a statement from the Telecommunications Ministry. Tunisie Telecom is majority owned by the state while Dubai's TECOM Investments and Dubai Investment Group jointly hold 35 percent.
The statement did not give further details, but a government official who declined to be named told Reuters that Tunisie Telecom had paid US$80.2 million for the license.
There are currently three mobile network operators in the country - the state controlled Tunisie Telcom which is the sole landline operator, and Tunisiana, which just operates a mobile phone network. Earlier this year, France Telecom's Orange launched a 3G network in the country, in cooperation with Investec, a Tunisian subsidiary of the Mabrouk group. Orange holds 49% of the joint venture. The company was awarded its operating license in June 2009.
According to figures from the Mobile World analysts, the country has 9.95 million mobile phone users, which represents a population penetration level of 94%.