Omantel, Nawras seek new spectrum amid rising data usage

21 Dec 2011

Surging demand for mobile data services has prompted Oman’s two telecoms companies, incumbent Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) and second national operator Nawras, to request lower-frequency spectrum from the country’s telecoms regulator, reports Trade Arabia citing news agency Reuters. Both operators currently utilise 2100MHz spectrum to provide third-generation services, but have entered into talks with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) on the possibility of acquiring new spectrum in lower frequency ranges. In an emailed statement, the watchdog said it wants to refarm its 800MHz spectrum to the two operators for mobile broadband services. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that Nawras, which is 55%-owned by Qatar Telecom (Qtel), was the Sultanate’s first 3G provider, launching full commercial W-CDMA/HSDPA-based services in December 2007. Market leader Omantel’s commercial 2G/3.5G services got off the ground in March 2009, while a 14.4Mbps upgrade was initiated three months later. The company carried out a demonstration of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in July 2010.