The UAE’s Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat), says it will not bid in Qatar’s upcoming auction of a second national fixed line licence, Bloomberg reported. Etisalat lost out last month to UK-based Vodafone in the auction for Qatar’s second mobile operator licence. Jamal al-Jarwan, CEO of Etisalat’s International Investments, explained that ‘without the mobile phone licence, [the wireline concession] will be a weak investment, so we decided we will not compete for it.’ Al-Jarwan went on to criticise Qatar’s auction process, in particular the failure of regulator ictQATAR to announce the value of Vodafone’s winning bid.
Qatar has given firms until 7 February to express interest in a fixed line licence to compete with incumbent Qtel, which will be awarded in April. Upon launching the tender process on 17 December, five expressions of interest had been received by the regulator, from Etisalat, Argos Consortium (including US-based Verizon Communications), Bahrain Telecoms Company (Batelco),), Italian alternative telco Eutelia and QIPCO Consortium (including PCCW-HKT of Hong Kong).