The government of Oman is to sell off a 19% stake in the country’s former monopoly PTO Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) via a public sale. The state will offload 27% of its shares – equivalent to 19% of Omantel’s share capital – to Omani institutional and individual investors, with the stake valued at around OMR221 million (USD574 million) according to Bloomberg. The government currently has a 70% interest in Omantel, so the sale will reduce state ownership to 51%; 30% of the telco is already publicly owned. In July 2008 the Omani government announced a plan to sell a 25% stake in Omantel, aimed at boosting the firm’s competitive position, but the sale was later cancelled due to market volatility and economic conditions. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Omantel controls around 60% of Oman’s cellular and broadband markets, but is still virtually unchallenged in the fixed line arena where it accounts for more than 96% of all lines in service.
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