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Sun 6 Aug 2006 04:00 AM

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Wataniya misses out on Moroccan 3G licence

The Kuwaiti operator came fourth in the race for three third generation licences put up for sale by Morocco's telecommunications regulator.

Wataniya International has lost out in its bid for one of three 3G licences up for sale in Morocco. The North African country’s telecoms regulator, Agence Nationale de Reglementation des Telecommunications (ARNT), incumbent mobile operators Maroc Telecom and Meditel as winners. The third licence was awarded to Maroc Connect an independent service provider was awarded the third concession. This left Wataniya’s Nejma Telecom Maroc the only bidder to not receive a licence. According to ARNT, it was this local connection that gave the eventual winners the edge over Wataniya.

“The operators that already have licences… have a better knowledge of the Moroccan market. This makes their offers more coherent and realistic and therefore more feasible,” ARNT said in a statement. Maroc Connect was the first to be awarded the 3G licence, with Maroc Telecom second and Meditel third.

The licences were awarded at a price of US$41.23 million each. The ARNT announced that the sale constitute the final stage of the 2004-2008 telecoms liberalisation programme.

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