China Telecom wins licence in Yemen

There are currently two GSM operators and a single government-backed CDMA operator in Yemen.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  September 22, 2005

A consortium backed by China Telecom is reported to have won the third GSM licence in Yemen, offering US$149 million for the privilege. Six companies pre-qualified for the award of the licence. The bidders were Omantel, Wataniya International, Syriatel, Millicom, a bidder named Alcaon and the winning bidder Unitel, in which China Telecom is said to have a stake. While enthusiastic to record its first investment in a foreign market, Omantel is reported to have pulled back from bidding having expressed some concerns regarding the size of the opportunity and stability of the Yemeni market. There are currently two GSM operators and a single government-backed CDMA operator in Yemen, with the market leader Sabafon counting around 900,000 registered users, though actual subscribers are likely to be closer to the 620,000 mark. A source at second operator Spacetel believes that despite the increased competition, there will be little scope for price competition as the government monitors pricing closely, and that the main area of competition will be with regard the services and quality of services provided. Spacetel has a registered base of 800,000 subscribers.

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