OmanTel jumps starts privatization with rate reductions
The Oman Telecommunications Company (OmanTel) has decided to cut tariffs on international calls to accelerate the partial privatization of the firm. Fees will be slashed by 15-31 percent as of January 1, reported Reuters.
OmanTel was expected to make available the purchase of a 40 percent stake to foreign investors last year. The ownership of the remaining 60 percent of OmanTel’s shares would be retained by the government, nine percent of which will be allocated to Omani retirement funds.
Oman’s efforts to privatize the telecom sector are motivated by its commitments to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to liberalize the industry by 2003. According to OmanTel sources, the delay for privatization is the result of the global economic slowdown and lack of interest on the part of international telecom operators.
Headquartered in Muscat, government-owned OmanTel is the country’s sole provider of telephony, mobile and Internet services. Full Internet service became available in early in 1997 and after a relatively slow start, usage increased significantly between 1999 and 2000. The network currently covers 80 percent of the population, with 98 percent of urban households owning a telephone line. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)