Fresh delay hits award of Qatar’s fixed licence

Regulator says Vodafone Qatar to be awarded second fixed licence in early 2010, with services to launch later in year

Tags: QatarVodafone QatarVodafone and Qatar Foundation
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Fresh delay hits award of Qatar’s fixed licence Vodafone Qatar will have to wait until next year for its fixed licence
By  George Bevir Published  December 22, 2009

The award of the second fixed licence in Qatar has been delayed once again, with the head of the country's telecoms regulator saying that it will not be conferred until early next year.

Vodafone Qatar, which broke Qtel's mobile monopoly earlier this year, was provisionally awarded the country's second fixed licence in September 2008, when it was suggested that services would be launched in 2009.

The head of the regulatory division of ICTQatar, William Fagan, told CommsMEA that Vodafone Qatar and the Qatar Foundation had not yet formed the company that will be awarded the licence.

"There are some corporate governance issues which we expect will be overcome very shortly," he said, adding that "it isn't the regulator holding it up".

Fagan said he expects the issues to be resolved early next year, with fixed services occurring at some point in 2010.

Two months ago, Vodafone Qatar said the fixed line consortium was "working through the pre-licence grant requirements specified by ICTQatar prior to being awarded the licence," and that "the management anticipates this could be finished by the end of November to enable the first fixed services to be launched in late 2010."

Vodafone Qatar's regulatory and external affairs director, Matthew Harrison-Harvey, confirmed the new delay, and said that he now expects all requirements to be completed "in the first quarter of 2010, subject to regulatory approvals".

Fixed line services in Qatar are provided by incumbent operator Qtel, which has 427,130 users of its fixed, internet and triple play services, generating some QR442 million ($121 million), according to the operator's third quarter results.

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