Qtel looking to leap into international arena

Qatar telco set to make a series of investment announcements

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By  Published  October 31, 2006

Qatar's incumbent telco Qatar Telecom is set to announce a string of investments in the near future, CommsMEA can reveal.

Sources close to the company have stated that Qtel management has been in the process of recruiting individuals from across the globe to assist in efforts to identify and invest in opportunities within telecoms markets in a number of countries.

It is understood that Qtel is not restricting itself only to opportunities in the Middle East and Africa, but globally.

The operator is currently said to be showing interest in Indonesia, for example.

Qtel's CEO Nasser Marafih spoke to CommsMEA earlier this year, at which time he explained that his company had not been on the sidelines of regional development.

"Qtel has been looking at opportunities, but we are very diligent in what we do.

We are careful; because we have to make sure that we review each opportunity properly.
Sometimes they do not meet our criteria," Marafih explained.

He acknowledged that it was not just greenfield licences that attracted Qtel's interest, and that he had been looking at potential operations for acquisition.
"Qtel is going to be a regional player, and we are going in that direction.

But it is important for us to do it right."

Qtel is a controlling shareholder of Nawras, the second operator in Oman.

The Qatar incumbent was unsuccessful in its bid for the opportunity to run Egypt's third mobile network, a concession that was awarded to the UAE's Etisalat.

Qtel was ranked third in the final assessment for the award of the Egyptian licence behind Etisalat and MTC Group.

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