UK firms to bid for Oman mobile phone tender

MUSCAT - Britain's biggest telephone service providers are expected to bid for a contract to operate Oman's second mobile phone company that would open up competition in the telecommunication sector in the sultanate.

By From Our Special Correspondent

Published: Tue 20 Jan 2004, 11:59 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:10 AM

"We are delighted to have aroused the interest of UK telephone company heavyweights, such as Vodaphone, Cable and Wireless and Orange. They all have shown strong interest," a Tender Board official said.

Earlier this month, Oman has invited international firms to apply for a licence to set up a mobile phone company in the Gulf Arab state, in a move designed to end a monopoly by state-run Oman Telecommunications Company.

Oman Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said the successful bidder would sign a 15-year deal with the government to own and operate the new firm with an option to extend for another 10 years.

There are currently over 500,000 mobile subscribers in Oman. Officials said that the government was also considering inviting separate tenders for Internet and fixed telephone franchises.

"The offer to private investors to acquire the mobile phones' license is the first step. There are plans to allow private companies to set up and operate the Internet and fixed telephones companies in competition with Omantel," a government official said. Omantel, which is currently the sole telecommunications service provider in the country, is under the process of being partially privatise. National Economy Minister Ahmad bin Abdulnabi Macki said that the government plans to float 30 per cent of Omantel to local investors this year.

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