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Who Does What: Middle East Carriers

Qatar (population 900,000) is in the process of telecom liberalization, and its new regulator, ictQATAR , has announced a shortlist of seven bidders for the country's second mobile license. (See Qatar Shortlists Mobile Cos.) The regulator is also expected to auction off a second fixed-line license.



Qatar Telecom
Publicly listed Qatar Telecom QSC (Qtel) runs the country’s telecom monopoly, providing a range of services such as national and international fixed-line voice, Internet and data services, cable TV, and mobile. Qtel runs and manages the Qatar Data Centre, which hosts AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s first global node in the Middle East.

In preparation for the end of its monopoly, Qtel is on an expansion kick. The company acquired Wataniya Telecom for $3.7 billion in March and invested $635 million in a partnership with Singapore Technologies Telemedia Pte. Ltd. (ST Telemedia) back in January. (See Qtel Spends $3.7B for Wataniya Stake.)

Qtel also owns Omani mobile operator Nawras .

But that's not all. Qtel owns 38 percent of NavLink, a joint venture with AT&T, which provides enterprise data services for multinational companies in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. (See Qtel Takes NavLink Stake.)

NavLink has plans to expand into Morocco, Egypt, and Bahrain.

Qtel will also launch services in Jordan and Pakistan next year through ATCO-Clearwire, a fixed-wireless and broadband joint venture that acquired a 75 percent stake in Burraq Telecom earlier this year. (See Qtel Completes Buy.)

Qtel had 1.1 million domestic mobile subscribers in September, and its group subscriber base was 14.2 million.

Read more about the carrier on its Website.

Next Page: Saudi Arabia

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