Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has revealed that seven out of ten bidders have been shortlisted following the first round of bidding to offer telecoms services in the remote areas of the country, Times of Oman reports. The companies include both national and international telecoms operators which have a ‘sound financial position and extensive experience of operating telecoms networks and providing telecoms services’. The seven have now been asked to submit their technical and financial proposals. The government’s universal service obligation (USO) initiative plans to offer ten-year technology neutral licences for the provision of basic telephony services and dial-up internet access in remote areas of Oman. The winners will also be eligible for financial subsidies paid by the state in ten annual installments. The regulator hopes to have selected the winning candidates by the end of the first quarter of 2010.