Etisalat targets both Qatari licences

Abu Dhabi-based firm to pitch for both mobile and fixed line licences in Qatar.

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By  Michele Howe Published  August 13, 2007

Etisalat is aiming to make a clean sweep of Qatar's telecom auction, pitching for both the fixed and mobile licences on offer in the country.

The UAE telco operator, which has been seeking to expand its international investments since the arrival of a challenger on its home market, recently confirmed it would be putting in a bid for Qatar's fixed line licence, according to a report by Gulf News.

"They will be running two rounds, one for GSM and one for fixed. We will participate in both," Jamal Al Jarwan, Etisalat general manager of international investments told the newspaper.

Etisalat announced early July that it had pre-qualified to bid for the second mobile licence in Qatar.

It will compete with 11 other pre-qualified candidates for the cellular licence including Batelco, Orascom and MTC.

The deadline for expressing initial interest in the fixed licence is September 9.

IctQatar, the Qatari telecommunications regulatory authority, said it expects to award both licences by the end of the year.

Etisalat's appetite for the Qatari market is not unexpected given its current focus on regional and international growth.

In addition to Qatar, Etisalat is also planning to bid for a stake in Algerie Telecom.

The Abu Dhabi-based operator said in January it was prepared to pay up to $3 billion for a stake in the Algerian company.

Etisalat currently operates across fourteen countries in total: Afghanistan, Benin, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Cote D'Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Pakistan and the UAE.

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