The Omani telecoms regulator’s decision to award the licence follows a similar decision by Jordan’s telecoms regulator in March (MEED 28:3:08).

Friendi has yet to sign a deal with one of the incumbent operators in either country.

To operate a virtual mobile phone network, Friendi needs to use the network infrastructure of an incumbent operator. Friendi would then share its revenues with its partner.

In Oman its choice of a partner is limited to Omantel or Nawras, a subsidiary of Qatar’s Qtel, in Oman.

In Jordan, it can choose between Orange (formerly Jordan Telecom), the Kuwaiti operator Zain, Bahrain’s Umniah or the local Xpress.