Lebanon rejects mobile tender result - Mobile World Live

Lebanon rejects mobile tender result

10 DEC 2015

The Lebanese government rejected the result of a tender intended to find companies to manage the country’s state-owned operators, citing unfair competition, the Daily Star reported.

The prime minister’s tender office wanted at least three companies to participate in the contest to run the country’s two state-owned operators, but only Orange and Zain did so.

Egypt’s Orascom refrained from bidding, reportedly because the conditions set by the telecoms minister, Boutros Harb, were too strict to meet.

The telecoms ministry claimed Orascom missed the 1 July deadline to submit a bid, but the company denied this.

The ministry will now either renew the contracts with the existing firms (Zain and Orascom) or let the state operate the networks directly. According to a source quoted by Daily Star, the former scenario is more likely.

The source also said international firms including Orascom may take part in the second tender round if conditions become more flexible. What’s more, five ministers have objected to the conditions on the basis that they were not agreed upon by the cabinet.

However, it is not likely that the cabinet will discuss new terms in the near future.

“I think the election of a president of the republic and the formation of a new cabinet would encourage more international firms to bid for the next tender round. But I don’t think that will happen very soon,” the source said.

The report adds that revenue from these networks is around $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion and are the treasury’s second largest source of income.

According to GSMA Intelligence, Lebanon has two operators: Touch (managed by Zain) which has 52 per cent market share, and Alfa (managed by Orascom), which has the remaining 48 per cent.

Due to Lebanon’s political struggles, the country’s telecoms ministry was unable to invite bidders to take on three to five year agreements until earlier this year.

In August, Vodafone withdrew from obtaining a management contract without giving reasons.

According to local reports, six international companies registered interest in Lebanon at the time, including Zain, Vodafone, Orange, Maxis, Turkcell and a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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