Wataniya International wins Palestinian bid

The Kuwait operator offered the highest amount, totalling US$355 million

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By  Published  September 30, 2006

The Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MTIT) has announced Wataniya International was the highest bidder for the second Palestinian mobile licence.

The company offered JD 251 million (US$355 million) as an upfront licence payment to install and operate a 2G/3G mobile network and establish the second Palestinian mobile telecoms service in Palestine.

Wataniya has begun negotiations to finalise the licence terms and agree on the frequencies required to operate the network.

Wataniya will establish a new company in Palestine, which will be 40%, owned by Wataniya where, as per the Request for Application, 30% will be offered to the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) and 30% owned by the general population through an initial public offering.

“We are grateful for the confidence of the Palestinian National Authority in proceeding with this privatisation process.

Wataniya has a proven track record at the greenfield level, building and operating world class networks and delivering innovative services in discerning markets,” said Faisal Al-Ayyar, chairman of Wataniya International.

“Palestinian customers can look forward to an exciting range of mobile voice and data services at competitive rates.

We look forward to the honour of participating in rebuilding the Palestinian economy.”

The licence will authorise the building and operating of a GSM network and provide public mobile voice and data services in Palestine.

It will also give the right to establish and operate a 3G network and to provide international telecommunications services.

“Wataniya is growing rapidly based on continued success in existing operations and our expansion into new, high growth markets.

The company's entry into Palestine represents a key step in continuing to reach our ambitious growth targets,” said Ahmad Haleem, CEO of Wataniya International.

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