Oman rules out immediate end to fixed line monopoly

15 Nov 2007

Oman has ruled out any immediate end to the state’s monopoly on fixed line telephony. ‘Although no fixed target date can be given, it can be stated that the fixed line [market] is not yet ready for privatisation as it is today,’ said Economy Minister Ahmad bin Abdul-Nabi Mekki, quoted by Gulf Daily News. He added that the government was instead looking for a long-term investor for state-owned incumbent telco Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), to improve its competitiveness. ‘A new investor should provide and contribute up-to-date, applicable technology and new practice, as well as managerial expertise,’ Mekki said. ‘The government is in the process of considering various options and will disclose the related terms in due time.’

Oman sold 30% of Omantel in 2005, raising OMR280.8 million (USD729.5 million) in the country’s largest-ever IPO. Legislation requires the government to hold at least a 51% stake, leaving 19% for a possible sale.