Vodafone Qatar may soon be the exclusive fixed-line provider in two of the country’s leading real-estate development projects once it has finalised its license application.
Grahame Maher, Vodafone Qatar’s chief executive officer, said he had talks with some real estate developers regarding this matter.
Asked if he had discussions with Qatari Diar on its Lusail Development Project and the United Development Company’s (UDC) new residential towers at The Pearl-Qatar, Maher hinted “it has been lobbied… but nothing has been finalised yet.”
He said they were now finalising having their application for a fixed line license approved from ictQatar.
He said they wanted to do it last year, but “the IPO subscription got in the middle of that… so now we are still finalising things.”
The Qatari Diar is operating the Lusail Development Project, which spreads over an area of 35 square kilometers that will surround not only new commercial, residential and retail opportunities, but also offer a complete range of community needs for about 200,000 people with hospitals, entertainment, gathering centres and schools.
UDC developed The Pearl-Qatar project. Spanning nearly four million square metres, the Pearl-Qatar is easily the most ambitious and one of the largest urban developments here. Dubbed as the Arabian Riviera, the QR50-billion offshore, manmade island will see completion in 2012. It is the first to offer freehold and residential rights to international investors in the country.
William Fagan, ictQatar’s executive director, Regulatory Authority, said they have announced their intention to award the second fixed line license to Vodafone Qatar last year and picked the company from two other bidders, PCCW Limited (Pacific Century CyberWorks) from Hong Kong and France Télécom.
Fagan stated the awarding of the mobile license ended in an auction process to ensure transparency due to the “huge level of interest evinced.” The companies were asked to submit proposals, which were evaluated based upon a number of criteria such as technology, size and nature of the network they were going to build, viability of their business plans and their legal structure. Each area was evaluated by separate teams from within the Regulatory Authority with some outside consultants.
According to the ictQatar website, it will take a few months to form the licensee company, which will include Qatar Foundation, Vodafone and some other parties.
“The process is going to take some months to complete. We do expect to issue the license still before the end of the year. The license will indicate what the obligations are,” said Fagan.
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