Qatar ‘close’ to selecting second mobile licensee

22 Nov 2007

Qatar’s telecom regulator, the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology, told Reuters yesterday that it was close to selecting the winning bidder in its auction for a second national GSM mobile licence. Seven groups, Bahrain Telecom (Batelco), AT&T, Vodafone Group, Etisalat, Zain Group (formerly MTC), Ace Consortium (led by Bharti Airtel) and Argos Consortium (led by Verizon Communications), bid for the licence, which was due to be awarded in mid-November. ‘We are about a week behind in the process,’ William Fagan, the regulator’s executive director said, adding that ‘The [selection] process is still ongoing and the bidders are aware of what’s going on,’ although he did not offer a reason for the delay. The country’s mobile market is currently a monopoly of Qatar Telecom (Qtel).