Oman plans ISP licences; Omantel launches Wi-Fi

8 May 2007

Bahrain’s Daily News has reported that Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is planning to give licences to new internet service providers (ISP) in a further liberalisation of its telecommunications sector. The TRA said companies with at least two years of technical experience could apply for the licences from 2 June. Oman’s telecoms liberalisation began in 2005 when a second mobile licence was issued to Nawras, a joint venture of Qatar Telecommunications and Omani investors. The move ended the monopoly of Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), the sultanate’s largest firm by market value. Nawras also offers some limited internet services. Omantel’s CEO said last month Oman planned to sell a fixed-line telephone licence this year, also ending his company’s monopoly in that area.

Meanwhile, Omani incumbent telco Omantel, currently the country’s only licensed ISP, has launched a network of 20 Wi-Fi hotspots across the capital Muscat. The service is available to all post-paid internet subscribers. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Omantel had 13,000 ADSL subscribers at the end of 2006.