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Cablegate: Imi - New Cellular Mobile Network, Maldives

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS COLOMBO 001308

SIPDIS

USDOC FOR 4530/MAC/ANESA/OSA
EMBASSIES FOR FCS OFFICES

E.O 12958:N/A
TAGS: BEXP BTIO MV ECONOMICS
SUBJECT: IMI - NEW CELLULAR MOBILE NETWORK, MALDIVES

1. Summary. The Government of the Republic of Maldives
plans to liberalize the cellular network and invite a
second operator. This will present business opportunities
to US telecommunications service providers and equipment
manufacturers. End Summary.

2. The Government of the Republic of Maldives (GORM) plans
to liberalize the mobile telephone network, by issuing a
license to a second mobile provider. The
Telecommunications Authority of Maldives (TAM) has recently
called for expressions of interest from interested parties.
US based TMG Inc has been selected to provide consultancy
services on liberalization of the mobile network.

3. TAM hopes to issue a technology neutral license to a
cellular mobile operator for an initial period of 15 years,
for a onetime pre-determined license fee. The selected
provider will be expected to meet certain population and
geographic coverage. Prospective bidders need to have
experience in operating mobile phone facilities utilizing
internationally approved digital communication
technologies, with at least 100,000 subscribers in service.
They should also have access to funds needed to construct
and operate a digital mobile network.

4. Background: Telecommunications facilities are well
developed in Capital Male' and at the tourist resorts. All
200 inhabited islands of the country have access to
telephone services, but in many cases it is comprised of a
single public pay phone for all residents of the island.
Mobile phone usage is increasing rapidly. There are over
66,000 mobile phone users in the Maldives, compared to
30,000 landlines. Mobile phone services are available in
Male, 85 inhabited islands and in all resort islands.

5. Currently, Dhiraagu, a joint venture between the
Government and Cable & Wireless of UK, is the sole
telecommunications service provider in Maldives. Dhiraagu
provides Internet services, and GSM mobile and
international roaming services. Dhiaraagu's monopoly over
Internet services will end soon when a newly licensed
provider starts operations.

6. Further information regarding this business opportunity
can be obtained from Mr. Mohamed Amir, Chief Executive
Officer
Telecommunications Authority of Maldives
Telecom Building
Male
Republic of Maldives
Phone: 960-323344
Fax: 960-320000
Email: mobile@tam.gov.mv
Internet: www.tam.gov.mv
ENTWISTLE

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