The Mozambique government says that it will launch a tender for the country's third mobile phone license before the end of the year after delays caused by complaints from the two incumbents were overcome.
Transport and Communications Minister Paulo Zucula said that the issues raised by state-owned Mcel and Vodacom had been overcome and that the bidding document is now being prepared.
"Within a month or two, the tender will come out, what I mean is the tender will be launched by December," he told Reuters in an interview.
"First we had to do market study in the whole country to find out if there is room or not, we had to sit and discuss with other stakeholder and operators, all this has been concluded and the market is there," Zucula said.
Last December, Portugal Telecom's chief executive Zeinal Bava said that the company would be bidding for the license, which at the time was expected to be offered around the middle of this year.
According to figures from the Mobile World analysts, the country ended the first half of this year with a shade around 5.7 million subscribers, representing a population penetration level of 28%. mCel is the dominant operator, with a market share of 66% - compared to 34% for rival, Vodacom.
Plans by the government to sell a small stake in Moçambique Celular (mCel) have been discussed in the past, but no progress has been made so far.