Oman’s search for the 3rd mobile operator is canceled- statement

Oct. 18th, 2017

Muscat (WAF)- Omani government is no longer looking for a third mobile operator, and will be awarding the licence to a consortium of a local company and international investors, Omani Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) said in a statement. 

The statement posted on the state news agency (ONA) said that the Ministry of Transport and Communications “has instructed the TRA to cancel the current bid”.

“The ministry will work through the Authority to implement the new orientation as of today’s date and will  follow-up until the issuance of the necessary licence for the new company” MoTC said in the statement.

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In 2016, Oman’s Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) has invited bids from telecom operators to enhance competition in the mobile telecommunications services market. Earlier this year Zain Kuwait, UAE Telecom, Saudi ST, and Sudan’s Sudatel Group announced their bid for the licence.

Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) acquired nearly 10% of Kuwait’s Zain for $846.1mln in August. The state-controlled company sought to raise its stakes to 22% by buying additional 12% stake of Al Khair in the Kuwaiti telecom operator. This will make Omantel the second-biggest shareholder following the Kuwait Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund.

Omantel’s investments in Zain raised questions on social media platforms, showing a sense of uncertainty regarding the kind of competition that will be introduced in case the Kuwaiti operator wins and forms an alliance with Omantel which is 51% state-owned.