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Syria postpones auction for third telco licence

No new date set for auction amid deteriorating political sitiation in Syria

Syria postpones auction for third telco licence
Syria's government postponed the auction for the country's third mobile licence amid ongoing political instability.

Syria has postponed the auction for the country’s third mobile licence amid ongoing political instability.

The auction, which was due to take place on April 27, was postponed because of changes made to the supervisory committee that was overseeing the process, according to a report from Zawya Dow Jones.

"The license has been postponed because some elements on the supervisory committee were from the old government," a person familiar with the matter told Zawya Dow Jones. "Some people are no longer on the committee."

The person added that no new date had been set for the auction.

Qtel and STC, the only operators left in the running for the licence, both confirmed to CommsMEA that they were aware of the decision to postpone the auction.

A spokesperson from Qtel said that the company remained “firmly interested in pursuing the third licence” in Syria. “This is in line with Qtel’s stated strategy of looking at opportunities in three strategic regions that fall within its core lines of business and we look forward to an update on the revised timetable for the process in due course.”

Ghassan Hasbani, CEO international, STC, said: “We have been informed that the auction has been postponed and a new date will be set.”

As the original date the auction approached, the political situation in Sirya continued to deteriorate, with the government’s security forces accused of shooting dead more than 400 civilians in an ongoing crackdown against pro-democracy protests, according to Sawasiah, a Syrian human rights organisation.

The government of Syria announced in August 2010 its intention to award a third mobile licence. At the time, cabinet also granted an initial approval to offer full mobile licences to Syria's existing operators, Syriatel and MTN Syria, which currently operate services under Build-Operate-Transfer (B.O.T.) agreements. 

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