Oman’s second wireless operator Nawras Telecom has celebrated its first anniversary of launch, revealing that it has signed up 300,000 customers. According to GlobalComms, TeleGeography’s online database, Nawras launched commercial services on 16 March 2005 and by the end of July had signed up nearly 200,000 subscribers. The company was set up as a joint venture between Qatar Telecom (Qtel) and Denmark’s TDC after the two won a GSM licence in a June 2004 auction, bidding under the name Omani-Qatari Telecommunications Company. Nawras beat 27 rival bidders for the 15-year concession, making a one-off payment to the government of OMR40 million (USD104 million); it must also contribute 12% of its annual gross revenues to the government’s national telecoms fund. In return, the new cellco will enjoy three years as one half of a wireless duopoly. It has earmarked USD1.7 billion for network development in its first ten years of operation, of which USD200 million was spent by the end of 2005.
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