Omantel plans overseas expansion

Omani incumbent eyes foreign expansion as competition increases in home market

Tags: OmanOman Telecommunications Company
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Omantel plans overseas expansion Omantel is looking to acquire licences and network building contracts abroad after home market growth slows.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  August 23, 2011

Oman’s incumbent operator, Omantel, is looking to acquire operating licenses and network building contracts abroad in a bid to counter the effects of slowing growth in its home market, the company’s CEO, Amer al-Rawas, said in an interview with Reuters.

“What we are trying to do right now is to expand abroad and pursue opportunities for licenses,” al-Rawas said.

The CEO added that “the second way” of expanding outside the country was to continue building and investing in cable systems, allowing to it carry international traffic for other telcos, the report added.

In April, Omantel, which competes with second operator Nawras in Oman, joined forces with Telecommunications Infrastructure Company of Iran, UK based Cable & Wireless Worldwide, and Russian carrier Rostelecom to develop the EPEG cable system.

The system, which will be put in operation in May 2012 and have an initial capacity of 540 gigabits per second, will connect Frankfurt across Eastern Europe, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to Oman's capital Muscat. It will eventually carry both voice and data traffic.

In March, Omantel announced the partial activation of the
Europe-India Gateway (EIG) submarine cable, which is expected to enhance the international capacity and diversity between the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The full system is expected to be operational by this year end.

In its results for the first half of 2011, Omantel posted a net profit $14.9 million, representing a decline of 9.8% compared to a profit of 61 million in the same period last year. Omantel said the decline was due mainly to the cost of expanding its network and additional HR costs.

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