Oman to appoint third mobile operator

By:
Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

There are already 7m mobile phones for a population of 3.6m, but Oman's regulator is to invite applications for a third operator

Oman’s telecoms regulator has invited operators to apply for the sultanate’s third mobile licence.

The winner will complete against state-owned Omantel and Qatar-based Ooredoo.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) is selling interested parties an information memorandum (PDF) at a cost of 3,000 Omani rials ($7,800), giving details of the licence.

But a summary of the offer says the offer is limited to companies with a turnover of at least $250 million a year from telecoms and a net asset value of $400 million or more.

Companies must have provided services in their country of origin for 10 years and in at least one other country for five years. They must also have experience running services similar to what Oman requires.

The TRA says it “considers that the enhancement of competition in the mobile telecommunications services market will be of significant benefit to consumers and to the economy of the Sultanate, and is consistent with the general policy of the government as well the TRA’s mandate to promote market entry under the Telecommunications Regulatory Act.”

The deadline for applications for the information memorandum is Monday 26 December, but the TRA has not yet announced the deadline for applications for the third licence.

According to Australian analyst Paul Budde there are almost seven million mobile phones in Oman – a country with a population of 3.6 million. “The mobile market in Oman has become saturated with high penetration and many multiple subscriptions,” says Budde. “While this is leading to a boost in mobile broadband growth – at the same time the various OTT providers have disrupted the market. This has caused a decline in revenue from streams such as SMS as well as voice for the traditional operators.”

The TRA says extra radio spectrum will be made available for a third operator.