Consortia backed by Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) and TM International (TMI) have qualified for the second stage of a tender for Iran’s third wireless network operator licence, which reportedly also includes a two-year exclusivity period for a 3G network. According to a press release from Omantel it has formed a consortium with a number of local and international partners to bid for the concession, although it stopped short of naming its partners. According to the statement, Iran, with a population of 73 million and a wireless penetration of less than 60%, offers huge opportunities for growth not least because around half of the population is under 25 years of age.
Malaysia’s TM International (TMI) has also pre-qualified to bid for the licence. In a statement TMI said its bid was due to be submitted to the Communications Regulator of Iran on 6 December. To bid for the licence, TMI’s wholly owned subsidiary Indocel Holding formed a consortium with Iranian firms Fanavari Moudj Khavar and Sarmayegozarie Atiyeh Saba. Indocel will hold a 49% stake in the joint venture while the Iranians will hold the remaining 51% stake. TMI already has a presence in Iran via its 49% stake in Mobile Telecommunications Company of Esfahan, which is licensed to provide telecoms services in the Esfahan province only.