Orascom verdict puts telecom tender on hold
Orascom was initially disqualified from the tender for missing the application deadline. (Al Bawaba/File)
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The Prime Minister’s Tender Office declined to disclose Thursday the names of the telecommunications firms that were supposed to operate Lebanon’s cellular networks, after the Shura Council ordered the participation of Cairo-based Orascom in the bidding process.
The Shura Council said Wednesday that the earlier decision of the Tender Office to disqualify Orascom from the tender on the grounds that it missed the deadline for the acceptance of the application was not legal.
Sources told The Daily Star that only two telecom firms, Paris-based Orange and Kuwait-based Zain, had officially applied for the tender. They added that the law clearly stipulates that at least three companies should make offers in the tender.
The Tender Office did not issue any statement to explain why the new tenders’ announcement was called off.
A source close to Orascom, the operator of Alfa, which currently runs one of Lebanon’s networks, said his firm would apply for the tender again once the Tender Office sets a new date for firms’ participation.
The contracts with network operators touch and Alfa expire at the end of 2015 and insiders say it is likely the Cabinet will renew the contracts to give the Telecom Ministry more time to launch a new tender.
However, sources believe very few companies will make an offer to operate the networks in view of the delicate situation in Lebanon.
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