Vodafone wins Qatar's second fixed licence

A consortium including British telecom giant Vodafone has been awarded a licence to operate a second fixed-line service in gas-rich Qatar, an AFP report said.

ICT Qatar did not reveal the value of the license, which was awarded to the same consortium that succcessfully bid for the Gulf state's second mobile phone service, breaking the monopoly of state-controlled Q-Tel, the AFP report added.

'The Board of ICT Qatar today decided to award the second fixed telecommunications licence to the Vodafone and Qatar Foundation consortium, permitting one of the world's largest telecommunications companies (Vodafone) to compete against Q-Tel for both mobile and fixed-line customers,' the regulator said.

Services will be launched in 2009, the statement said.

In December, the Vodafone-Qatar Foundation consortium won a €1.5 billion (US$2.12 billion) bid to operate the second mobile phone license. Services are due to begin by March 1 and the new company will offer 40% of its shares for public subscription by November 30.

Bidders for the second fixed-line licence included ATT and Verizon from the US, Batelco from Bahrain, Eutelia from Italy, Jordan Telecom, PCCW from Hong Kong, and British Telecom as well as Vodafone from Britain.