Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has issued a clarification of a press report earlier this week regarding the opening up of the telecoms market in the Sultanate. The clarification is as follows:
‘The consultation papers from the TRA provide inputs to the stakeholders to initiate the ‘consultation’ process so that there are issues that are debated [in] public. TRA invites responses to a series of questions so that all…possible options are fully explored…The TRA [will] consider all these options and responses before taking any decision.
‘For example, the consultation paper ‘International Submarine Cable infrastructure and International Landing Station facility licences’, released on 2 March 2008 clearly states on Page 3 that ‘Any expression of opinion in this document is not the final view of the TRA and is intended to seek the opinion of the stakeholders in Oman.’ There are four other consultation papers on the TRA’s website addressing local loop unbundling, carrier selection, next generation networks and VoIP services. …Issuance of [a] consultation paper does not mean that the TRA has taken any decision on the subject. It is just the start of a discussion process and is normal regulatory practice for getting… feedback…so that all possible options are explored before any policy decision is taken.
‘A consultation paper on ‘Opening Up of Telecom Markets’ [was also] released on 2 March…In line with the Telecom Act and the Sultanate’s commitments, markets are to be opened up but there can be many possible options [for] issuing the licences. One or more sets of services could be bundled together. Unified licences combining international, national long-distance and wireless broadband services could be one of the options. TRA has nowhere suggested that mobile licences are being issued…No GSM band allocation, nor [the licensing of] another GSM mobile operator is suggested in the consultation paper.’
The original report, now corrected by the above TRA statement, suggested specifically that a second fixed line telco and a third cellular operator were being sought.