By Vinod Nair — MUSCAT: May 2 – Several companies, including regional players, have expressed interest in participating in the bid for the third telecom operator’s licence, the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) said on Tuesday. The deadline for receiving the bids ended on Monday. TRA said it was evaluating these proposals as per procedures laid out in the information memorandum (IM) as part of the government’s keenness to increase competition in the telecommunications market and improve the quality of services.
The Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) announced on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) it was competing for the third licence for the mobile phone network in the Sultanate.
The company said, “Application was made as per the details in accordance with IM and conditions set by Oman’s TRA.”
The bid includes a complete business plan, technical and financial plans along with a financial offer for the licence. According to IM, the qualified bidders will be shortlisted and announced by August 8.
The licence winner will be announced on September 4.
STC said its participation is in line with the expansion strategy in the region, and the Omani telecom market is considered a “promising one with a good growth potential”.
Kuwait’s mobile operator Zain has also officially informed it had bid for the third telecom operator’s licence in Oman.
Last year, TRA was asked initiate the licensing process for the third telecom operator to provide more options to consumers, as the government unveils plans for a smart city, especially with the launch of Internet Protocol television (IPTV) and expansion of the optic fibre broadband network.
As per the figures from National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), there has been a 7.2 per cent growth in the number of fixed lines (453,140), 1.6 per cent in total mobile subscribers (6,976,162) and 13.4 per cent in active mobile internet subscribers (4,464,089).
Customers in Oman have always welcomed the move to encourage competition as it will ensure better service quality at competitive prices.
“I think the operators anywhere in the world tend to take customers for granted if they know their clients have nowhere else to go,” said Layla, a Syrian national who recently moved to Oman from a neighbouring country.