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Wheels in motion for Kuwait's third mobile operator

The committee responsible for the formation of Kuwait's third cellular operator has invited expressions of interest from firms.

The committee responsible for the formation of Kuwait's third cellular operator has invited expressions of interest from firms.

The Establishing Committee for the Third Mobile Telecommunications Company in Kuwait will today issue a request for intent (RFI) providing details on the public auction process for companies interested in investing in the mobile operator.

A 26% share in the operator is currently up for grabs with the provision that it is sold to a Kuwaiti listed company or a foreign telecom operator.

"Existing mobile telecommunications companies are not allowed to participate directly or indirectly in the new company," the committee said in a statement announcing the RFI.

The remaining ownership of the new operator is to be split between the government (24%) and an initial public offering (50%).

The establishment of a third cellular operator in Kuwait comes about despite opposition from the market including from existing operators Mobile Telecoms Company (MTC) and Wataniya.

"Kuwait currently has around 107% penetration. How can (a third player) squeeze in?," Wataniya Telecom's director of sales Jukka Paasivaara commented to Comms MEA in February.

"Most likely the only way it could enter the market is through price. It would lose. Both MTC and Wataniya have deep pockets," he added.

The deadline for responses to the RFI is July 31 with an earlier deadline for clarifications.

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