Oman short lists bidders for fixed-line licence

Oman shortlisted six bidders seeking a licence for the Gulf country's second fixed-line telecoms network, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report quoted Oman's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority saying the six firms or consortiums were among ten that had submitted bids to build and operate a company also offering broadband and marine telecoms services.

An official of the regulator contacted by Reuters said their names would be announced next month.

Oman, which already has two mobile telephone operators and is also selling a stake in Oman Telecommunications, is liberalising the telecoms sector as part of efforts to encourage foreign investment as its oil production dries up.

An economy ministry official said earlier this month that Oman was looking for a company that could invest at least €204.9 million (US$300 million) in the first five years of the contract.

The country of about 2.7 million people is offering a package including a 25-year contract to build and operate the second fixed-line service and a similar 15-year contract for broadband internet services. Both contracts are renewable.