11 May 2005
Oman’s newest cellco Nawras Telecom has signed a 15-year agreement with wireline incumbent Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) to lease capacity on its fibre-optic national backbone. The move enables Nawras to phase a planned rollout of its own microwave transmission network and concentrate instead on the deployment of mobile base stations. Nawras, which became the country’s second mobile operator when it launched on 16 March this year, aims to achieve wireless coverage of 60% of the population in its first twelve months, and is concentrating on the capital, Muscat, as well as Salalah and the Batinah region. It has also signed a temporary roaming agreement with wireless market leader Oman Mobile Telecommunications Company (OMTC), enabling it to offer nationwide coverage to its subscribers, which numbered around 17,000 at the end of April. Omantel has an extensive fibre network covering most cities and towns in the sultanate, including Muscat, Ghubra, Izki, Nizwa, Sohar, Ibri, Ghala, Kamil, Sur, Nizwa, Salalah and Bahja.