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Third virtual operator signs deal in Oman

Mazoon Mobile agrees wholesale deal with Nawras for MVNO operations

Mazoon will be Oman's third MVNO.
Mazoon will be Oman's third MVNO.

Oman's second telecom operator Nawras today announced that it has signed a wholesale agreement with mobile virtual network operator Mazoon, taking the number of MVNOs in the country to three.

While Nawras had appeared reluctant to strike any deals with the firms that were granted MVNO licences by Oman's regulator in mid-2008, incumbent operator Oman Mobile signed wholesale agreements with two virtual operators, UAE-based Friendi and Renna.

Since the two networks launched in April and May respectively, Oman Mobile has put a stop to rival operator Nawras eating into its market share, which it has done every quarter since it broke Oman Mobile's monopoly.

Speaking to CommsMEA in December last year, Mazoon CEO Mohamed Alhashili said that once Mazoon is given "the green light, we can be up and running in 40 days, because we have all of our setup ready".

When asked what proportion of the market Mazoon would target, Alhashili was reluctant to give a precise figure, but he said that an MVNO in the Omani market can survive if they gain "between 3-10% of the market, depending on how big they want to grow and how much investment they put in".

In November last year, Nawras launched ‘Shababiah', its own youth-focused sub-brand only available to the under-25s, which was widely seen as an attempt by the operator to stem the impact of Friendi and Renna.

Mazoon's arrival in Oman's mobile market comes as both Friendi and Renna set their sights on securing wholesale deals and licenses in other markets of the Middle East and Africa.