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Qatar Telecom Confirms Interest in Syrian Mobile Network License

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Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has confirmed that it will bid for the country's third mobile operator license, despite the ongoing political turmoil in the country from democracy activists.

"Our board has taken the decision to pursue the third license in Syria. We are going into Syria... and we think it is an important country to be in," Qtel's chairman, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani said after the company held its AGM.

Syria's forthcoming auction for the country's third mobile network license is reportedly set to have a minimum reserve price of USD122 million.

According to figures from the Mobile World, the country is estimated to have had just over 11 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of March 2011, which represents a population penetration level of 54%.

The two incumbent operators will have to buy out their current BOT agreements and convert to a conventional license agreement. The buyout price has been previously reported as being around USD500 million.

The company also confirmed that it would be restructuring its debt within the next few months, and might consider further capital raising at the time. The company also signed, in association with Wataniya Telecom, an agreement to acquire another 25% shareholding in Tunisiana, raising its stake to 75%.

On the web: Mobile World

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Tags: qatar telecom  qtel  auction  Syria