Lebanon TRA unveils licensing plans

Lebanon's newly formed Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) plans to issue mobile and international licences before the end of the year, its president disclosed.

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By  Administrator Published  June 3, 2007

Lebanon's newly formed Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) plans to issue mobile and international licences before the end of the year, its president disclosed.

At an event in Dubai last month, the TRA president Kamal Shehadi said the regulator plans to start issuing mobile and international licences in 4Q. "We are behind many other countries [but] there is great potential for this market," Shehadi told delegates. "The Lebanese telecoms market has been held back by political problems. We expect that to change in the next few years," he added.

Mobile penetration currently stands at 30% in Lebanon and the amount could easily rise to between 70-90% in just a few years, Shehadi suggested.

Lebanon currently has two mobile service providers, MTC Touch and Alfa, both of which operate under licence management agreements.

Shehadi said the national regulator would pursue three objectives over the next 12 months. First, the liberalisation of mobile services through issuing two mobile licences whilst privatising the existing operators; second, liberalising broadband including the issuing of new broadband licences; and third, the liberalisation of international services by issuing new gateway licences.

The Ministry of Telecommunications, which previously oversaw regulatory issues in Lebanon, is in the process of setting up Liban Telecom, the new operator that will inherit the operational functions of the fixed line operator Ogero, Shehadi said. Liban Telecom, which will have a PSTN operation as well as a mobile licence, is slated for privatisation in 2008.

The privatisation process in Lebanon has been drawn out.

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