IctQatar announces telecoms deregulation

Qatar is the last remaining country in the GCC not to have been liberalised

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By  Published  November 30, 2006

Qtel\'s position as the Gulf\'s last remaining monopoly operator is soon to come to an end given moves by Qatar\'s Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQatar) to devise and publish licensing procedures that will effectively open the market up to competition early next year. Qtel\'s monopoly licence was originally set to end in 2012. “Once we are done with the licensing procedures we will start distributing the licences,” commented ictQatar secretary-general Hessa Al-Jaber. Al-Jaber did not detail whether or not licences would be issued to service providers across all telecoms services and dismissed rumours that a regional operator had already approached the regulator for a licence in the country. “We are not looking at names now. Once we issue the licensing procedures, bids will be invited and licenses distributed thereafter,” she said Qatar is the last country in the Gulf to operate a monopoly telecoms market and ictQatar was established in 2005 with the aim of heralding the deregulation of country\'s telecoms sector. IctQatar views the forthcoming deregulation as beneficial, not only in terms of improved call rates and services for customers, but also in terms of to the health of Qatar\'s economic and social development in general. “This is just the beginning. We can look forward to investment from an array of new industries, brand new jobs across our economy and innovative ways of doing business in public and private sectors,” Al-Jaber said. Meantime, ictQatar has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), a statuary board of the Singapore government to collaborate on information and communications technology opportunities in the region. The IDA will also foster partnerships between Singapore and Qatar infocomm companies in order to implement developments in both the public and private sectors. The MoU will also promote information communication technology exchange between the two organisations, enabling Singapore and Qatar to benefit from shared knowledge and experience in the field.

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