Kuwait is to issue a virtual telecom operator licence, effectively creating a fourth player in a market serving roughly four million people.
Virtual network operators do not own the networks they use to provide communications services but instead lease capacity from conventional operators, usually paying them a percentage of their revenue as well as fees.
Kuwait’s Communications and Information Technology Regulatory Authority has issued a request for applications for the licence, according to a document seen by Reuters.
State news agency KUNA also reported a licence would be granted.
Applications must be submitted by Nov. 14, 2019 and the selected application will be announced by Feb. 6, 2020, the document shows.
The applicant will have to partner with a company that can provide it with the technology, know-how and operational and management experience. The partner will also own at least 40 per cent of shares and have a five-year management agreement.
Kuwait’s current telecom providers are Zain, Ooredoo, and Viva.
Kuwait’s existing telecom providers, as well as anyone holding 25 per cent or more shares in Kuwaiti telecom companies, are not allowed to apply.
Foreign ownership would be subject to Kuwaiti law, which restricts non-Kuwaitis to minority ownership.