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Vodafone Takes On Legal Fight Over Virgin in Qatar

Doha, Qatar : 27 May 2010

The world’s biggest mobile telecoms company by revenue, Vodafone, has taken ‘legal action’ against Qatar’s telecommunications regulators because of a licence granted to Virgin Mobile Qatar.

Vodafone own 23% of the shares of its Qatar company, with another 23% of shares owned by the Qatar Foundation.  The remaining 54% are publicly traded shares.

The company are arguing that regulators have given Virgin Mobile (who are owned in entirety by Qatar Telecom) the right to commence mobile services this month without issuing the proper licence to do so and this has had a detrimental affect on their shareholders, the bulk of which are ‘individual Qataris’ who total some 82,000 people.

The operator states that its original contract, agreed with the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology, had terms which did not allow for another ‘mobile service provider’ to enter the market until a ‘proposed sector review’ had taken place.  CEO for Vodafone Qatar, Grahame Maher said that the company was ‘happy to compete’ but that the new licence granted to Virgin Mobile Qatar indicated a change to ‘the rules’.

Virgin Mobile Qatar was launched this month to great fanfare, with Richard Branson arriving in a jet-ski formation for the signing ceremony at Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art. Qatar Telecom provides job opportunities for more than 2,000 employees in Qatar as well as in other 16 countries where it operates.

Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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