Vodafone wants Virgin out of Qatar
Vodafone CEO says ictQATAR should either take Virgin Mobile out of the market or pay compensation
Vodafone Qatar is demanding that the country's telecom regulator force Virgin Mobile out of the market or cough up damages for allegedly changing conditions of its licence.
Late last month, Vodafone Qatar said it was considering legal action against ictQATAR for allowing Virgin into the market as a third provider, calling it a breach of Vodafone Qatar's licence agreement.
Vodafone became Qatar's second mobile operator after obtaining their licence in 2007, breaking Qtel's monopoly in Qatar.
Virgin however signed a partnership deal with Qtel earlier this year that allows Qtel to offer a prepaid mobile service under the Virgin brand.
In response to Vodafone's claims, ictQATAR said it was ready to investigate and take action against any company that was offering public telecom services without a licence.
"ictQATAR has objectives and powers to identify and address anti-competitive practices in the telecommunications sector, to ensure the orderly development and regulation of the telecommunications sector, and to establish a fair, objective and transparent licensing regime for service providers," the regulator stated.
But in a recent interview with Reuters Insider, Grahame Maher, Vodafone CEO, said: "Our view is that there is a new service provider in the market. Our shareholders paid 7.7 billion Qatari riyals ($2.1 billion) for a licence that allowed for a period with no extra service providers. That has changed."
"Therefore we'd like that service provider to leave, or for compensation to be paid. It's really a question of what is the value of the licence if the terms change," he added.