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Kuwait's MTC in Iraq phone licence talks

Mobile Telecommunications Co. seeks a long-term mobile phone licence, says its MD.

Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co. (MTC) is in talks with the Iraqi government to get a long-term mobile phone licence, the firm's managing director said in comments published on Saturday.

MTC, the third-largest Arab telecom company by market value, operates MTC Atheer in Iraq. Kuwaiti papers had reported in January that the company's licence would expire on March 31, after a three-month extension.

MTC now wants to get a long-term licence, Saad al-Barrak told al-Watan daily, without elaborating.

Kuwait's National Mobile Telecommunications Co. (Wataniya) and Cairo-based Orascom Telecom also operate mobile phone providers in Iraq. The majority shareholder of Wataniya's Iraq affiliate Asia Cell has applied to a court to shut down the company.

Barrak also said a consortium led by the company would seek loans from Saudi Arabian and global firms to finance the operations of a newly acquired mobile phone licence in the kingdom.

The consortium, which in March made a highest bid of $6.1 billion for the third mobile licence, expects to get Saudi cabinet approval for its bid by the end of the month, Barrak said.