FRiENDi fined for violating licence conditions

16 Nov 2010

Omani mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Connect Arabia, which operates under the brand names FRiENDi Mobile and Halafoni, has been fined OMR1,000 (USD2,500) for advertising a promotional offer before obtaining approval from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Gulfnews.com reports that the operator has also been warned against violating its licence conditions and the rules and procedures regulating promotional offers in telecoms services. The regulator also observed that the tariffs advertised were incorrect and misleading for customers, which again is a violation of the rules and procedures regulating promotional offers. The TRA has urged all licensees to strictly observe the terms and procedures of their concessions and to adhere to the country’s regulatory framework.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Connect Arabia was awarded a five-year Class II licence by the TRA in July 2008 along with four other companies with the stipulation that they were to become MVNOs. FRiENDi was first to market in April 2009, launching services over the network of Omantel and claiming to be the Middle East’s first MVNO, while Halafoni – a joint venture between Connect Arabia and UAE-based broadcaster MBC – launched in July 2009. The reseller targets the Arab-speaking youth market with its pre-paid SIM packages.