Vodafone consortium wins second fixed line licence

16 Sep 2008

A consortium including Britain’s Vodafone Group and Qatar Foundation has won Qatar’s second fixed line telephony licence, ending the monopoly of state-run Qatar Telecom (Qtel). The Vodafone consortium, which was handed the country’s second mobile operating licence in June after it won an auction last December, plans to launch wireline and WiMAX-based services, which are included in the fixed concession. Qatar’s telecoms regulator, the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR), did not announce the value of Vodafone’s bid that beat two other fixed line hopefuls, Jordan Telecom and Hong Kong’s PCCW, although it said that the licence will be officially awarded by December and that it expects the winner to launch fixed line services sometime next year; Vodafone Qatar has scheduled the commercial launch of mobile services for March 2009. A statement from ictQATAR read: ‘Telecommunications services in Qatar are to be open to competition in another important step in the country’s liberalisation process…Our decision came after a comprehensive comparative evaluation based on published criteria of applications…Vodafone’s entrance into our fixed line market will bring to consumers better value and innovation in products and services. Telecommunications companies and those in related industries will open headquarters or offices here…better pricing and service range and quality will make Qatar an even more attractive place to do business.’

Qatar, Vodafone Group, Vodafone Qatar