Four companies were prequalified for the third licence in March – Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco); Luxembourg-based Investcom Holding; Saudi Oger; and Umniah. However, it is unclear how many of the operators submitted bids and at least one of the prequalified companies is known not to have submitted an offer for the licence.

The terms of the 15-year licence call for the network to cover Amman and the Zarqa, Balqa and Madaba governorates within two years of the award and the northern and southern governorates within three years.

The two existing GSM licences are held by Mobilcom, a subsidiary of Jordan Telecom– which is 40 per cent owned by France Telecom– and Jordan Mobile Telephone Services Company (Fastlink), owned by the Kuwaiti/UK MTC-Vodafone.

The government plans to end Jordan Telecom’s fixed-line monopoly by the end of 2004 and launched a public consultation on the licensing process in mid-June (MEED 6:2:04).