Qatar Telecommunications Co (Q-Tel) is reported in the Doha press to be close to finalising three telecom acquisitions, in a bid to diversify its operations ahead of domestic liberalisation next year. According to Q-Tel’s chief operating officer David Murray, his company has concluded talks with governments in three Muslim countries and will be either acquiring stakes in existing operators or be awarded new licences; he declined to give specifics. ‘The deals are done. They are in the final stages of approval by the relevant government authorities,’ Murray is quoted as having said. As it stands Q-Tel holds a controlling interest in Nawras, the second mobile operator in Oman. It also bid USD2.3 billion for Egypt’s third mobile phone licence in July, but lost out to Emirates Telecommunications Company (Etisalat).
Qatar is expected to end Q-Tel’s domestic telecoms monopoly by awarding a second telecom licence next year. A new telecoms law is currently being drafted by the regulator which will outline how the country will open up telecom services to competition.