The Chinese/local Unitel is the highest bidder at $149 million for the country’s third GSM licence, following the opening of prices in early August. The Telecommunications & Information Technology Ministry expects to make a decision by the end of the month.

Six companies submitted bids for the licence, but only five envelopes were opened as the final bidder failed to comply with tendering rules. The other bidders are: Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) at $101.6 million; Kuwait’s Wataniya Telecom at $54.2 million; the local/US Alcon Universalat $51 million; and a company identified as Mecomwith an offer of $44 million.

Bidders will be scored 60 per cent on their upfront licence fee offer and 40 per cent on technical grounds. The licensee is obliged to use GSM technology: Yemen already has two GSM providers – Spacetel and Sabatel– and a recently launched code division multiple access (CDMA) system operated by the state-owned Public Telecommunications Corporation(MEED 20:8:04).