Minister plans mobile sector overhaul

3 Jan 2013

Lebanon’s telecoms minister has ruled out the privatisation of the country’s mobile market. In an interview with The National newspaper, Nicolas Sehnaoui said that the current set-up – under which two mobile networks are managed by Zain and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding (OTMT) under contracts renewable on a year-to-year basis – could be replaced by a single network infrastructure company owned by the government, with between three and five private companies offered licences to resell mobile services. The minister is reported to have already presented the case to Michel Suleiman, the country’s president, and Najib Azmi Mikati, the prime minister, who is expected to forward it to the council of ministers in the next few weeks. ‘It will take at least until the end of 2013 to start being implemented. It will take another two to three years to be operational,’ said Sehnaoui. The minister also said that the government may sell up to 3% of the infrastructure company.