Kuwait’s National Assembly has approved the first reading of a bill to establish the country’s first independent telecoms regulator, tentatively called the Telecommunication Regulation Authority (TRA), in a move that could lead to further liberalisation of the sector. According to Reuters, 38 members of parliament (MPs) approved the first reading of the bill, while two MPs abstained. In a second statement, parliament speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim said that he hoped a second and final reading of the bill would be passed at the parliament’s next hearing, which is scheduled for 18 March 2014. The new commission will regulate the mobile, wireline and broadband sectors, although the exact scope of the supervisory powers that it will be given remains unclear. Kuwait is the last country in the Gulf region to establish such a regulatory body, and the draft law has reportedly been the subject of much deliberation by the government and the previous assemblies for the past decade.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, back in November 2010 the MoC announced that it intended to establish an independent telecoms regulator as part of its ongoing intention to privatise the country’s fixed line telephony market. No date was given for the introduction of a separate regulator, but the MoC claimed that no further internet service provider (ISP) licences would be issued in the interim period.