Qtel offers refund to customers hit by Virgin ruling

Qtel to comply with regulator order to shut Virgin operations

Tags: QatarQatar TelecomVirgin Mobile Qatar (www.virginmobile.com.qa)Vodafone Qatar
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Qtel offers refund to customers hit by Virgin ruling Virgin Mobile was launched in Qatar in May last year.
By  Joanne Bladd Published  June 7, 2011

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) said Tuesday it will close its Virgin Mobile Service following a ruling from the country's telecommunications regulator.

IctQATAR has ordered Qtel to "close down Qtel's Virgin Mobile Service and remove the Virgin Mobile brand from the market," the company said.

Qtel plans to migrate all existing Virgin customers to its existing Hala service or offer them a refund, it said in an emailed statement.

Customers can retain their existing phone numbers and credit balances, but will require a new SIM card. Virgin accounts must be deactivated by August 4.

"Customers will have ample opportunity to obtain their replacement SIM cards or seek a refund," the statement said. "Qtel... [will offer] full cash refunds to distributors and agents who return unused cards to its outlets."

The ruling is a victory for rival operator Vodafone Qatar, which argued the launch of Virgin-branded services in the Gulf state in May 2010 constituted a third mobile phone operator.

As such, the launch violated the terms of Vodafone's license and meant Virgin had started operations without a licence, the telco said.

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson said in November he was planning to expand his Virgin Mobile brand across the Arab world, with the UAE being targeted for new services.

Virgin Mobile Qatar was the eighth Virgin Mobile branded operation in the world, following on from launches in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, France, South Africa, and India.

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