Viewing cable 05MUSCAT306
Title: TELECOMS MOVEMENT IN OMAN

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
05MUSCAT3062005-02-23 03:20:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS MUSCAT 000306 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EB/CIP (DROHATGI), NEA/ARPI (RSMYTH) 
STATE PASS USTR FOR JBUNTIN, JFENNERTY, AAUGEROT, KSCHAGRIN 
USDOC FOR 4520/ITA/MAC/AMESA/OME/MTALAAT 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECPS KPRV ETRD MU
SUBJECT: TELECOMS MOVEMENT IN OMAN 
 
REF: A. MUSCAT 243 
 
     ¶B. OMAN-USTR TELECOMS DVC 2/1/05 
 
¶1. In the ref B digital video conference between USTR and 
Omani government telecommunications officials, Oman's 
Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (TRA) pledged that the 
award of an operating license to a competing mobile phone 
operator was "imminent."  On February 19, Sultan Qaboos 
promulgated a royal decree (No. 17/2005) formally issuing the 
operating license to Oman-Qatar Telecommunications Company 
for a period of 15 years.  The joint venture, which goes by 
the commercial name of Nawras Telecom, has already been 
lining up new subscribers, and will launch its services "very 
soon," according to CEO Ross Cormack.  TRA official Naashia 
al-Kharusi (Oman's lead telecoms negotiator in the upcoming 
free trade agreement negotiations) told P/E Chief February 21 
that the operating license was issued as Category 1, meaning 
that Nawras will be providing its own infrastructure (through 
an alliance with Ericsson) rather than relying on incumbent 
Omantel's network.  Nawras paid a one-time payment of RO 40 
million ($104 million) for the license, and reportedly plans 
to invest $1.7 billion over the next 10 years. 
 
¶2. State-owned incumbent Omantel made headlines of its own 
February 21 by announcing a "significant" cut in its 
international dialing rates effective March 1.  Unnamed 
sources at Omantel were quoted in the local press as saying 
that a range of service prices are expected to fall in 2005 
in anticipation of the competition not only from Nawras (on 
the mobile side), but also from "new operators coming into 
the (fixed line) market in the future."  Omantel pledges to 
both cut its rates and improve the quality of the service to 
stay competitive, as demonstrated by the aggressive pricing 
strategy and advertising campaign launched by Oman Mobile 
(Omantel's cellular operations) in the past six months. 
Al-Kharusi told P/E Chief that she still expects a second 
fixed-line operator to be identified before the end of this 
year.  In the meantime, the floating of 30 percent of the 
shares in Omantel is now expected to take place by June, 
according to Omantel Executive President Mohammed al-Wohaibi 
in a February 22 press interview. 
BALTIMORE