SONITEL (an acronym of Société Nigérienne des Télécommunications or Nigerien Telecommunications Society) is the Nigerien national telephone and telecommunications carrier. It was created in 1997 as a fusion of the telecommunications arm of Nigerien Posts and Telecommunications and the STIN (Société des Télécommunications Internationales du Niger / International Telecommunications Society of Niger) which controlled land-line telephone connections abroad. SONITEL had the government of Niger as a majority share holder. Following the 1999 Constitution of the Fifth Republic, SONITEL was to be privatized. In 2001, after an unsuccessful round of offerings, the majority of the companies shares were sold to Sino-Libyan consortium DATAPORT, made up of the Libyan LAAICO company and the Chinese ZTE, although the government of Niger continued to hold a third of the company’s shares. SONITEL continued to hold a monopoly on Internet communication, .ne name registry, and international fixed line voice communication.