Thursday, July 5, 2007

Reliance, Bharti in fray for Qatar license

Reliance Telecom and Bharti Airtel along with ten other firms, including Egypt's Orascom, Britain's Vodafone, Verizon of the US, MTC of Kuwait and Bahrain Telecom have entered the second round of qualifying process for a GSM-based mobile licence in Qatar that the Gulf country plans to award by October this year.

Qatar 's Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR), the country's telecom regulator, plans to award the second GSM mobile licence in October.

"We were delighted by both the number and quality of the applications we received. The list includes important regional and international operators," ictQATAR's secretary general Hessa Al Jaber said in a statement.

Through a final Mobile Application Process (MAP), all 12 companies will be assessed on criteria such as depth of expertise, industry knowledge and financial security.

The two Indian companies had earlier lost in a bid for a cellular license in Saudi Arabia, while Reliance Telecom had also opted out of a bid in Kenya.

State-run Qatar Telecom is the first mobile operator. The company is also set to lose its fixed line monopoly later this year as the government has invited global bids for a second fixed line operator.
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