Mobile tender still not ready, licences extended again

4 Jul 2013

Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) has extended the contracts of Kuwait’s Zain Group and Egyptian-backed Orascom Telecom Lebanon to manage the two state-owned mobile operators, Touch and Alfa, until the end of September to allow time for a new Cabinet of Ministers (CoM) to be formed and approve an open tender for multi-year contracts. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that on 27 February 2013 the previous government authorised telecoms minister Nicolas Sehnaoui to prepare an international tender for bids to manage Touch and Alfa under five-year contracts; the management contracts of Zain and Orascom Telecom Lebanon (owned by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris’ Orascom Telecom Media and Technology) were extended for one year in the first quarters of 2010, 2011 and 2012, and temporary contract extensions to the end of June 2013 received CoM approval in February with the aim of giving the MoT time to finalise restructuring plans for the sector.