The regulator has pushed back the deadline for the initial public offering (IPO) of shares in the new operator, from the end of June to the end of November.

Vodafone’s launch in Qatar was delayed by the Economy & Commerce Ministry’s failure to give the company its final approval earlier in 2008 (MEED 25:4:08).

The Vodafone-led consortium has to float 40 per cent of the operating company’s shares as a condition of its licence.

The mobile phone operator and its investment partner, Qatar Foundation, will hold a further 45 per cent stake in the company between them. Government institutions will hold the remaining 15 per cent.

The consortium will pay QR7.7bn ($2.1bn) for the licence. Qatar Foundation will pay $1.7bn and Vodafone $400m, even though Qatar Foundation owns 22 per cent of the company and Vodafone 23 per cent.