Outremer Expands Mobile Services in Indian Ocean

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After establishing a presence in Mayotte and Reunion Island, Outremer Telecom now plans to start its mobile telephony services in Mauritius by the end of this year, reinforcing its presence in the Indian Ocean.

Also present in other regions of the world, more precisely in Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Martinique, Outremer Telecom is waiting for the green light from the Information & Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA) to go ahead with the project.

The French overseas regions operator is willing to invest US$54 million, out of which $30 million will be spent this year, to put in place a 3G network. Besides this investment, Outremer Telecom says it will recruit about 200 staff to service its new mobile telephony service in Mauritius. Works are due to start as soon as authorization is obtained from the ICTA to become the fourth mobile telephony operator in Mauritius.

"We will operate a very performing network added to special packages and deals to respond to the people's need," explains Michel Rigot, Outremer Telecom's general manager in Mauritius. But competing with well-established players Orange and Emtel and newcomer Mahanagar Telephone Mauritius Ltd (a subsidiary of the Indian operator MTML) won't be easy.

"We're not afraid because we're used to entering markets where we have to compete with operators who are there for years," said Rigot. Outremer Telecom launched its first mobile service in 2004 in French Guiana.

But mobile telephony is not Outremer Telecom's core service. It also provides fixed-line solutions, as well as Internet and data services. The company owns and operates landline and satellite infrastructure network, as well as holding fiber-optic submarine cable capacity.

Present in Mauritius since 2003, it started first with an international telephony service. A few years later, the company started call-center operations.

With fast-growing figures -- Outremer Telecom reported revenue up 5 percent to €47 million (US$70 million) in the fourth quarter of 2008 -- the operator keeps on adding new services and continues to explore the mobile world. Its growth was led by mobile, up 17.1 percent last year. On the other hand, residential fixed-line revenues dropped by 5.3 percent, with sales from fixed phones down 37 percent and Internet revenue up 69 percent.

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