Oman passes interconnection rules; third telecoms licence approved?

20 Apr 2016

Oman’s Ministry of Transport and Communications has reportedly approved plans to license a third full service telecoms provider, in a bid to bring down tariffs and improve service quality for end-users, Gulf News writes. The move is aimed at increasing competition in the sector, which is currently home to just two fixed line and mobile network operators, majority state-owned Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) and Ooredoo Oman, in which Qatari incumbent Ooredoo holds a 55% stake. No further details have been made public yet, the report adds.

In a separate development, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has approved the Access and Interconnection (A&I) Regulation, which aims to promote competition and remove barriers to market entry, as well as to increase high speed broadband coverage, particularly in rural areas. The rules state that A&I shall be provided on an equal and non-discriminatory basis to all requesting parties and wholesale customers, writes the Muscat Daily. ‘The interconnection of networks is critical to the development of competition as it enables one operator or service provider to reach subscribers on another operator’s network. As such, the TRA considers that all public telecom licensees should be subject to the obligation to interconnect their respective networks to ensure end-to-end connectivity,’ the legislation states. The providing party shall be free to negotiate reasonable commercial terms and conditions with a requesting party, provided that they are not contrary to the interests of beneficiaries or to the provisions of the regulation. The TRA first invited stakeholders, interested parties and the public to comment on its draft A&I Regulation back in April 2014.

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