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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Qtel ‘eyes second Oman fixed line licence

DOHA: Qtel is bidding for Oman’s second fixed line licence, Reuters said yesterday quoting the London-based Middle East Economic Digest.According to Reuters, Oman has shortlisted six bidders for the Sultanate’s second fixed line telecommunications network that would break the monopoly of the State-run Omantel.Oman, which already has two mobile telephone operators and is also selling a stake in Omantel, is liberalising the telecom sector as parts of efforts to encourage foreign investment as its oil production dries up.
In an interview with Gulf Times in March this year, Qtel Group chief executive officer, Nasser Marafih had said: “Qtel will definitely be bidding for the new fixed line licence in the Sultanate. Qtel is waiting for the Omani authorities to announce the procedures for choosing another fixed line operator in the Sultanate.Qtel is already in Oman through Nawras, its joint venture with Denmark’s TDC and some Omani investors, which provides mobile phone service. Marafih had also said Qtel would certainly scout for more markets and expand its presence in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia to achieve its goal of becoming the world’s top 20 telecommunication companies by 2020.Nawras had been doing “very well” in Oman, Qtel chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said recently.“The customer base grew 63% to 1.3mn in H1, 2008 with a 44.4% market share,” he said.
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