France Telecom and Tunisian partner Divona were awarded a 15-year fixed and mobile phone licence in Tunisia after submitting a EUR 137.65 million winning bid, the country's communications minister, Haj Klai, announced at a press conference on 26 June.
The ministry previously issued a statement explaining that Divona and France Telecom had presented a better technical offer than the other short-listed bidder, Turkcell. Klai said the government would sign a contract with the consortium within two weeks, with the licence fee to be paid immediately.
Klai added that the winning bid was 46 percent higher than anticipated by international advisors. France Telecom-Orange will own 49 percent of the joint venture, the remainder to be held by Divona, a company owned by Tunisian businessman Marouene Mabrouk, who is the son-in-law of the country's president, Zine El Abine Ben Ali. The partners plan to invest EUR 580 million over six years and to create between 1,000 and 2,000 direct jobs.