Curtain closes on Qatar mobile pre-qualification

Pre-qualification for the second mobile licence in Qatar, the last GCC economy to introduce market liberalisation in the telecoms sector closed May 27 with the country's regulator predicting that the proposition poses a lucrative offer.

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By  Administrator Published  June 3, 2007

Pre-qualification for the second mobile licence in Qatar, the last GCC economy to introduce market liberalisation in the telecoms sector closed May 27 with the country's regulator predicting that the proposition poses a lucrative offer.

IctQatar confirmed that all successful applicants would be forwarded to the final auction stages of the process which is set for completion in late June.

"We will publish the final mobile application process in late June, or early July and following a consultation process the announcement of the eventual winner will take place in Autumn 2007," said William Fagan, executive director of ictQATAR.

The regulator also predicts that the rollout will commence in early 2008, although the finalised timeframe with the licence winner would be confirmed at a later date. Fagan also noted that ictQatar had yet to finalise arrangements for the offer of a fixed-line licence.

"We are contemplating holding a beauty contest for the fixed-line network licence, where we will ask bidders to set themselves targets in terms of the time frame of the rollout," he revealed.

Additional media reports have suggested that over 20 firms have expressed an interest in tendering an offer for the mobile concession, and this may in part be due to the inclusion of a clause in the pre-qualification document that imposes a three-year moratorium on additional market competition, including service competition.

It has been suggested that the inclusion of such a clause will effectively mean that the regulator will voluntarily keep Qatar three years behind regional peers, such as Bahrain, which are now moving from duopoly to duopoly-plus service competition.

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