Wataniya buys Palestine mobile license

Deal to build and operate a 2G/3G mobile network is worth $350m.

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By  David Ingham Published  March 15, 2007

Wataniya Palestine Mobile Telecommunications Company has signed an agreement with Palestine's Ministry of Telecomms to launch a new mobile operator in Palestinian territories.

Wataniya Palestine, a collaboration between Wataniya International and the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF), will pay JD 251 million (US $354 million) for the right to build and operate a 2G/3G mobile telecomms network.

"The signing of the mobile services license agreement is another step towards realising the vision for a second mobile services operator in Palestine," said Ahmad Haleem, chief executive officer, Wataniya International. "Both Wataniya Telecom and the Palestine Investment Fund are committed to making the new mobile telecommunications company a national asset that will enhance the lives of users, businesses and investors alike."

Wataniya Palestine Mobile Telecommunications Company is 40% owned by Wataniya International, and 30% owned by PIF, while the remaining shares will be offered to the Palestinian public through an IPO.

Wataniya International, part of Wataniya Telecom group, manages or co-manages mobile operations in Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Maldives. Qtel, Qatar's monopoly telecomms provider, acquired 51% of Wataniya Telecom earlier this week in a deal worth several billion dollars.

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