$12.3m deal marks further foreign expansion as Qtel loses its Qatar monopoly.
Qatar Telecommunications Co. (Qtel) said it and a Saudi partner agreed to buy a majority stake in Pakistan wireless Internet broadband provider Burraq Telecom for $12.3 million.
The agreement with Saudi Arabia's A.A.Turki Corp. for Trading and Contracting (Atco) still needs regulatory approval, Qtel said in a statement on Wednesday. Qatar's Peninsula newspaper reported the agreement earlier today.
Qtel is seeking to expand outside Qatar as the Gulf Arab state prepares to sell a second mobile phone licence, ending Qtel's monopoly.
Qtel took control of Kuwait's National Mobile Telecommunications Co. (Wataniya) in March for $3.72 billion, the largest Gulf Arab telecom acquisition.
Burraq Telecom is a newly formed company which is setting up a long distance and international transmission network in Pakistan, according to the company's website. Qtel has operations in Oman, Indonesia and Singapore.
Qatar, home to 840,000 people and with a mobile penetration of more than 100%, invited expressions of interest in the country's second-mobile licence this week.
Facing rising competition at home, Gulf Arab telecom operators are hunting for foreign assets. Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (Etisalat) bought a 26% stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Co. Ltd. for $2.6 billion in 2005.For all the latest tech news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.