July 30, 2008

Wataniya Palestine Allocated Spectrum to Start Operations of Mobile Network

Wataniya Palestine Mobile Telecommunications Company (WPT) and its shareholders Wataniya Telecom (National Mobile Telecommunications Company NMTC; 51% owned by Qatar Telecom QSC (Qtel) and the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) have announced the receipt of an official communication from the Palestinian Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MTIT) confirming that an agreement has been reached for spectrum to be allocated to the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

The spectrum agreement, which provides for a staged release of radio frequencies over the next several months, meets key requirements to enable construction and commercial launch of WPT's mobile network. The released spectrum frequencies will be allocated by the PNA to WPT, which was established in December 2006 as a joint venture between Wataniya Telecom and the PIF.

Commenting on this development, the Chairman of Qtel and Wataniya Telecom, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani said "WPT represents one of the most significant foreign investments in the history of Palestine. Despite delays in securing the required frequencies, Wataniya Telecom and Qtel have always been fully committed to this venture. We look forward to launching commercial operations in Palestine and we are very confident that WPT will be a success story that will attract other foreign investors to the Palestinian market."

On behalf of the Palestinian shareholders, the CEO of the PIF, Dr. Mohammad Mustafa, said "The PIF partnered with Wataniya Telecom to establish WPT with a common understanding of the strategic importance of the telecommunications sector for our economy. With the resolution of the frequency allocations we now look forward to the more than 2,500 new direct and indirect jobs that the company is expected to help create in the next few years, and the millions of dollars that will be poured into the economy on business services."

Also commenting on this development, the CEO of WPT, Mr. Allan Richardson, said "With the forthcoming launch of WPT, a new chapter of competition in the Palestinian market will be opened, in which the consumer will be the ultimate winner. Our team in Palestine already includes more than 75 Palestinian professionals, working side by side with telecommunications experts from around the world, to build a world-class telecommunications company that will work tirelessly to exceed Palestinian consumers' expectations. Our team will now begin to focus on building our network and other components of our operational infrastructure in preparations for our commercial launch. WPT would like to extend its gratitude to all who supported the company since its establishment, especially the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology, and looks forward to working with all stakeholders for the successful launch of the company."

2008 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)

Originally published by By Al-Bawaba Reporters.

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