Kuwait extends bidding process for third mobile operator

Kuwait extended the bidding process for a 26% stake in its third mobile phone operator to mid-November, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the extension allows companies listed on the Kuwaiti stock exchange to bid without having to team up with an existing telecom operator.

'Companies listed on the Kuwait stock exchange and foreign telecommunications operators are allowed to participate in this public auction either individually or as member investors of a consortium,' state-run Kuwait Investment Authority said in a statement.

Kuwait Investment Authority, which handles the tender, extended the deadline until November 18 in response to requests from interested bidders, the Associated Press report said.

Initially, the state authority in this oil-rich country asked companies to team up with a telecom operator to qualify for the bid, the report said.

Operators will bid to acquire a 26% stake in the third mobile operator. Government institutions will hold 24%. About 50% of the shares are set to be sold off in an initial public offering, the report said.

Mobile Telecommunications and National Mobile Telecommunications Company now operate in Kuwait, a close US ally in the Persian Gulf.

Kuwait's neighbor Qatar is also in the process of opening up its telecom sector. Qatar's telecommunications regulator said last week that seven firms, including AT&T, Vodafone and Verizon, have submitted bids for the country's second mobile phone license, the report further said.