Libya plans to liberalise telecoms sector
Government aims to increase private sector participation in the industry
Libya is planning to encourage private sector participation in the telecoms sector, according to comments made by Atef Al Bahri, the country's assistant deputy minister of telecommunications.
According to a new draft law that was formed in March and sent to Congress for voting, the government intends to allow the private sector to participate competitively in the telecoms sector, Medafrica Times reported.
Al Bahri admitted that there is "no real competition" in the sector at present but pointed out that the government recently granted 25 Internet service provider licences along with 23 VSAT licences and fleet tracking licences to private companies.
Libya had been due to launch a tender to manage the country's single, state-owned telecom operator, Libyan Post, Telecommunication and Information Technology Co (LIPTIC), earlier this year, but the decision was put on hold for unspecified reasons.
However, the current lack of private participation in the telecoms sector does not appear to have hindered its development too severely.
Despite having a state-owned monopoly player for telecoms services (GPTC), which also operates the country's only Internet service (LTT) and two mobile networks in parallel, Libya's telecommunications infrastructure is superior to those in many other African countries, and services are available at some of the lowest prices on the continent, according to research from BuddeComm.
The Australian research firm also stated that Libya's fixed-line teledensity is one of the highest in Africa, supported by extensive rollouts of CDMA-2000 wireless local loop technology (WLL) technology since 2006.
Libya's civil war in 2011 is estimated to have destroyed more than $1bn worth of telecom infrastructure, including about 20% of the country's cell sites, according to BuddeComm.