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Tue 1 May 2007 11:10 AM

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Qtel closes in on Pakistan ISP acquisition

A Qtel-led consortium has agreed to buy a majority stake in Pakistan wireless internet broadband provider Burraq Telecom for US$12.3 million.

A Qtel-led consortium has agreed to buy a majority stake in Pakistan wireless internet broadband provider Burraq Telecom for US$12.3 million.

The move to buy a controlling stake in Burraq Telecom, in conjunction with Saudi Arabia's Atco, is still awaiting regulatory approval from the PTA "The price is very reasonable to access the Pakistani market, which is a fast-growing one with huge potential," said Marc Hammoud, vice president of research at Shuaa Capital in Dubai.

Burraq Telecom is a wireless internet broadband provider that provides long distance and international transmission network solutions in the country.

Since the start of 2007, Qtel has intensified its international expansion strategy having already taken stakes in ST Telemedia in Singapore and Wataniya Telecom of Kuwait.

Qtel, which is the last monopoly operator in the Gulf, posted a 28.3% rise in mobile phone users last year to 920,000. Officials at the national regulator, ictQATAR, believe the Qatari market remains a lucrative proposition for incoming operators despite mobile penetration exceeding 100%. The number of mobile users have almost doubled since 2004 and average revenue per user stands at US$981 per annum.

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