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Vodafone wins Qatar fixed-line licence

16 сентября 2008

Vodafone has won the right to offer fixed-line telecoms services in Qatar, the country's regulator revealed on Monday.

A consortium comprising the U.K.-based mobile giant and the Qatar Foundation beat two other contenders – groups headed by PCCW and Jordan Telecom - to claim Qatar's second fixed-line licence.

The concession will be formally granted before the end of this year, with service launch scheduled for 2009, regulatory body ICTQatar said in a statement.
The regulator did not disclose the price of the winning bid.

The move will enable Vodafone to operate as a complete service provider in
The Vodafone/Qatar Foundation partnership won the country's second mobile licence late last year, making it the only serious competitor to incumbent operator Q-Tel.

The regulator said on Monday that Vodafone will launch mobile services on or before 1 March 2009.

"Today's announcement is another significant step toward liberalising our market for communications networks and services, and creating a knowledge-based information society," said Hessa Al-Jaber, secretary general of ICTQatar.

ICTQatar was formed as recently as 2004, with the remit of overseeing telecoms liberalisation in the Gulf state.
Qatar is one of the few remaining markets in which the incumbent still has a monopoly on fixed and mobile services.

"The result of the entrance of Vodafone into our fixed-line market will bring to consumers better value and innovation in products and services, Hessa Al-Jaber added.

However, Q-Tel insists it is well prepared to face competition.

On Monday the telco announced that second-quarter earnings grew 59% on-year to 655 million rials (US$180 million) and went to great lengths to highlight the revenue contributions from its various overseas units.
While its domestic market still accounts for 32% of revenues, the balance is shifting; the telco revealed that its operations in Kuwait and Iraq contributed 19% and 15% respectively, and a further 25% comes from Algeria, Oman and Indonesia.

Q-Tel has made no secret of having lofty ambitions, and has repeatedly said that it aims to be among the top 20 telecommunications companies in the world by 2020.

Источник: Total Telecom

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