Oman to open up fixed-line and internet markets

Having welcomed a second mobile operator last year, the Oman government is now looking to liberalise the entire telecommunications sector.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  May 28, 2006

The Oman government has announced that the country’s telecommunications sector is to be completely liberalised. The move will see non-government entities allowed to enter the countries fixed-line and internet markets. State-owned Omantel currently holds the monopoly licence in these sectors, while the mobile sector currently has two licence holders, Oman Mobile and Nawras, a joint venture between Qtel of Qatar and Denmark’s TDC. “There are other steps to allow a new operator of fixed line and the internet services in the near future. This is part of the Sultanate's strategy to fully liberalise the sector," said Oman’s transport and telecommunications minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah al Harthy. Since launching in March 2006, second mobile licence holder Nawras has snatched a 20% share of the Omani mobile market, adding over 300,000 new subscribers. According to the minister, the Arab world must attempt to keep up with the growth and developments in the telecoms and internet industries. “Our objective is to narrow the gap in digital knowledge between the East and West which is affecting several other fields.” No date has been publicly identified for full liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in Oman.

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