However, the more formal move will be of interest to companies such as the UAE’s Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), which was recently awarded the second GSM licence in Saudi Arabia and is also weighing up its options for the rest of the region (see Cover Story). Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel), Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco)and Kuwait’s MTChave also responded to the end of their local monopoly by looking at regional expansion.

A second announcement from the summit was good news for consumers. The GCC nations agreed to reduce by as much as 40 per cent telephone call rates between member nations.