Five firms qualified to bid for Syria cellphone license

30 Nov 2010

(MENAFN) Syria’s telecom ministry said that five out of six interested companies have qualified to bid for the country’s third cellphone license, in a process seen as a test of the Syria’s ability to meet international tendering standards, Reuters reported.

Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat), France Telecom, Qatari company Qtel, Turkcell, Saudi Telecom had made the pre-qualification shortlist, with Iranian group Tamco missing out, the ministry said.

The cellphone sector, one of the government’s biggest sources of revenue, has been tinged with political interference since the state awarded operational contacts to two existing cellphone companies, MTN and Syriatel, nine years ago.

The government, which plans to convert the build, operate and tranfer contracts with existing two operators into licences, said transparency will govern the process of choosing a third operator.

An auction for the third license was due to be held on April 12, according to the tender document

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