Monday, January 19, 2009

Orascom, Zain Win Lebanon Bids

Orascom Telecom and Zain have won the contracts to operate Lebanon's two mobile networks. Contracts to operate the MTC Touch and Alfa mobile networks had expired last month. Orascom said the new contract will run for one year, with an option for another year. The company has agreed to increase Alfa's subscriber base from around 600,000 currently to 1 million by the end of 2009.
Zain also confirmed it will manage the MTC Touch network for another year, from 1 February, and target another 400,000 customers on top of the existing 800,000. The Lebanese government has agreed to finance the capital expenditure for expanding the networks and will pay the two operators management fees based on operating costs per subscriber.
Lebanon has some 1.1 million mobile phone users out of a population of 4 million. The new operators are expected to increase the network coverage and bring prices down. The new contracts are a stop-gap measure until long-delayed privatization of the mobile firms takes place. The privatisation has been put on hold because of global market conditions.

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