Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has postponed the award of a third mobile network operator (MNO) licence to give it time to examine the potential implications of Oman Telecommunications Company’s (Omantel’s) recent acquisition of an almost 10% stake in Zain Group. Earlier this year it was reported that a number of Middle Eastern companies, including Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Kuwait’s Zain Group, UAE-based Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) and Sudan-based Sudatel Telecom Group, had submitted technical and financial bids for permission to compete with incumbent Omani MNOs Omantel and Ooredoo Oman. A shortlist of the qualified bidders was expected to be published on 14 August, with the winner scheduled to be announced on 4 September. However, according to a report by The National, which cites an unnamed telecoms executive, the licence award process has now been delayed to 30 November, following the completion of Omantel’s purchase of a 9.84% stake in Zain Group last month.
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