Vodafone Qatar launches legal action against regulator

Second telco says action to protest at Virgin Mobile entry into Gulf state market.
Vodafone Qatar launches legal action against regulator
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 26 May 2010 01:08 PM

Vodafone Qataron Wednesday said it was taking legal action against the country’s telecoms regulator for allowing Virgin Mobile’s entry, without being licensed, into the Qatari market.

Vodafone Qatar said in a statement that Virgin Mobile’s tie up with Qtel was the entry of a third service provider in the Gulf state.

"Vodafone Qatar views this as a violation of its second public mobile telecommunications networks and services licence conditions and the telecoms law in Qatar which states that no further mobile service provider would enter into the market, and be licensed, until the proposed Sector review," the company said.

"For this opportunity, Vodafone Qatar’s shareholders collectively paid 7.7bn Qatari riyals for the second mobile licence in Qatar, of which 3.381,600,000 Qatari riyals was raised through an initial public offering open to Qatari individuals and institutions."

The legal action is being taken againstthe Supreme Council of Information & Communication Technology (ictQATAR).

“We are taking legal action for the damages this has caused our shareholders. We are simply protecting their interests; 82,000 of which are individual Qataris that paid 40 percent of the second mobile licence fee,” said Sheikh Abdulrahman Bin Saud Al-Thani, Vodafone Qatar’s chairman,

“Vodafone Qatar is happy to compete and is not threatened by Virgin Mobile’s entry into the market, but we see this as a change to the rules of our licence,” added Grahame Maher, Vodafone Qatar’s CEO.

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