Vodafone Qatar CEO Grahame Maher has expressed satisfaction with the recent actions of regulatory authority ictQatar in the controversial case of Qtel and Virgin Mobile.
While Vodafone paid a significant sum of money to secure the second telecommunications licence in Qatar, Virgin Mobile was launched as part of Qtel earlier this year.
However, the way the company was advertising and operating has been in the spotlight, and ictQatar has indicated that Qtel will be penalised as a result of breaching the rules in Qatar.
Although unwilling to comment on the situation in any detail, Maher said he was pleased with how ictQatar had dealt with the case, declaring its actions as a positive development for Qatar.
“This is a great outcome for Qatar,” he said, explaining “it shows that the country has a regulatory authority which is willing to make decisions and act on them – no matter which service provider the decisions concern.”
Speaking about the recent debate surrounding BlackBerry services in the region, Maher said Vodafone was working closely with the government, the state security bureau, ictQatar and Qtel to resolve the situation.
He expressed confidence that there will be no ban on the service in Qatar, and said that if a server is introduced in other countries in the region to deal with the issue of encryption, then this may be something that also happens here in the future.
Despite being popular with local users – particularly young Arabs - the service is not that widely used in Qatar. However, Maher explained that with Vodafone’s global network and customers across the world, there was certainly a massive interest in resolving the current situation.
Maher referred to the BlackBerry co-CEO Michael Lazaridis who argued that the issue being discussed is not limited simply to BlackBerry, but rather the Internet as a whole.
“Whatever is necessary we will do,” he said, pointing out that Vodafone had a very good relationship with BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and would work closely with all parties involved to resolve any issues which might arise in the future.
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