Kuwaiti operator Wataniya Telecom is to launch 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the first half of 2013. According to a report from Dow Jones, which cites Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai, Wataniya intends to begin 4G trials later this month, with a commercial launch to follow within the next six months. Both of Wataniya’s domestic wireless rivals – Zain and Viva – have already introduced commercial 4G-based offerings.
Separately, Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, chairman of both Wataniya and its parent company Qatar Telecom (Qtel), has confirmed that the company is ready to list its shares on the Kuwaiti stock exchange. In October 2012 Qtel raised its stake in Wataniya from 52.5% to 92.1%, via a share tender offer launched on 4 September 2012. Having offered USD2.2 billion for the 47.5% of shares it did not own, by the offer’s expiry date of 4 October Qtel received acceptances for 199.65 million shares (at KWD2.60 per share), representing a 39.61% stake, and costing the company a total of KWD519.1 million (USD1.84 billion).