The UK company, which already operates a Middle Eastern licence in Egypt, declined to say how much it bid for the Qatari licence until the regulator confirms that Vodafone is the definite winner.
The winner of the second licence is expected to end incumbent operator Qtel’s monopoly when it launches mobile phone services in 2008, says ictQatar’s secretary-general, Hessa al-Jaber.
“This is an important milestone in the liberalisation of the telecommunications market in Qatar. The introduction of competition will benefit the people and economy of Qatar,” she says.
Vodafone trumped bids from Etisalat, the UAE operator, and Verizon from the US.
Other bids by US company AT&T and Zain, the Kuwaiti operator, were excluded by the regulator, which did not give a reason.