The government has moved a step closer to opening up the country's telecoms market, with the 24 August announcement of the formation of an independent regulatory authority governing the sector. The Oman Telecommunications Regulatory Authority will set tariffs and be responsible for the privatisation of Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) and the sale of operating licences in the sultanate (MEED 5:4:02).
The government is bound by its commitment to WTO to begin the process of liberalising the local telecoms market by 2003. Its plans to sell a strategic stake in Omantel have been slowed by the steep downturn in the global telecoms industry, however. The government had planned to sell a 41 per cent stake in the company to a strategic investor this year.
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