September 29, 2016 / 12:36 PM / a year ago

Niger to merge state-owned telecoms companies - minister

NIAMEY, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Niger will merge its public telephone and mobile communications companies into a single entity in order to expand its market share in the West African nation, the telecommunications minister said.

Niger currently has two state-owned companies - Sonitel, which operates landlines, and Sahelcom, a mobile operator.

They will be brought into a single company called Niger Telecom, with capital of 23.4 billion CFA francs ($40.04 million), Yahouza Sadissou said in a statement late on Wednesday following a cabinet meeting.

He said the goal of the merger was to pool technical and financial resources and make the public operator’s services more attractive to clients.

Niger has 7 million mobile subscribers and four mobile operators, including Sahelcom, Bharti Airtel of India’s local unit, France’s Orange, and Moov.

Sahelcom had around 347,000 subscribers in 2015. ($1 = 584.3700 CFA francs) (Reporting by Boureima Balima; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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