Lebanon’s State Shura Council has ordered the Prime Minister’s Tender Office to allow Egypt’s Orascom Telecom Media & Technology (OTMT) to compete in the tender for a contract to manage one of Lebanon’s two state-owned mobile network operators, Alfa and Touch, reports Albawaba.com. OTMT – which currently manages Alfa – had its initial offer rejected by the telecoms ministry which claimed that the Egyptian firm handed in documents on the deadline date (31 July) but too late (at 5pm, apparently after the tender office had shut at 4pm). The report says that the Council decision is mandatory as all government departments and agencies must fully comply with its verdicts.
The ministry had reportedly intended to announce the results of the tender this week, whilst a source told Lebanese paper the Daily Star that only two out of the six companies that bought the terms of the contracts – namely Orange Group of France and Touch’s current management company Zain Group (Kuwait) – had submitted initial bid applications. Although the source’s information was not confirmed, under the tender rules there should be at least three companies competing for the contracts, meaning that OTMT’s application would be required to make the process truly competitive, regardless of the argument over late entry. Vodafone Group of the UK bought tender documents but later stated it would not be bidding for a contract, whilst the other firms picking up documents were: Maxis (Malaysia), Turkcell (Turkey) and Detecon (part of Germany’s Deutsche Telekom). The new mobile contracts are scheduled to start on 1 January 2016.