Wataniya Palestine faces delay on receiving spectrum

10 July 2008
Wataniya Palestine, a subsidiary of Qatar’s Qtel, faces a delay from the Israeli authorities before it receives the radio spectrum needed to launch mobile phone services in the West Bank and Gaza.

The Israeli telecoms regulator is considering the Palestinian Authority’s response to its offer of spectrum for the mobile operator two weeks ago.

Once the regulator reaches agreement on the details of a deal with the Palestinian Authority, Wataniya Palestine will receive the frequency it needs to build a network.

Wataniya Palestine chief executive Allan Richardson says: “We want to be launched by the end of this year; we have got to be launched by the end of this year. We expect to get the spectrum issue resolved in the next couple of weeks.”

When it launches, Wataniya will break the mobile phone monopoly of Paltel, a subsidiary of the West Bank’s largest company, Padico.

Wataniya was awarded the second mobile phone licence in the West Bank and Gaza at the beginning of 2007, but the Israeli authorities have delayed giving it the spectrum it needs to launch services.

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