Kuwait to issue virtual telecom operator license

A photo taken on December 19, 2014 from the top of al-Hamra Tower shows a view of Kuwait City. (AFP)
Updated 15 July 2019

Kuwait to issue virtual telecom operator license

  • Foreign ownership would be subject to Kuwaiti law, which restricts non-Kuwaitis to minority ownership

DUBAI: Kuwait is to issue a virtual telecom operator license, effectively creating a fourth player in a market serving roughly 4 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 license, according to a document seen by Reuters.
State news agency KUNA also reported a license would be granted.

HIGHLIGHTS

• With the issuance of a license, a fourth player will be created in the Kuwaiti market.

• Applications must be submitted by Nov. 14, 2019.

• The selected application will be announced by Feb. 6, 2020.

• Kuwait’s current telecom providers are Zain, Ooredoo, and Viva.

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 14, 2019 and the selected application will be announced by Feb. 6, 2020, the document shows.

Conditions
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 percent 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 percent 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.


Diplomats in Paris discuss aid for battered Lebanese economy

Updated 14 min 14 sec ago

Diplomats in Paris discuss aid for battered Lebanese economy

  • Bteish said the situation is "worsening" and requires a quick solution
  • Lebanon has been swept by protests since Oct. 17

PARIS: Diplomats were meeting behind closed doors in Paris on Wednesday to consider measures to help Lebanon as it grapples with ongoing political turmoil and its worst economic crisis in decades.
The international group, co-chaired by France and the United Nations, is weighing conditions for providing financial aid to Lebanon. Lebanese businesses and households are growing increasingly desperate as cash supplies there have dwindled.
For two months, protests have decried government mismanagement and the current political system. But even as the financial crisis deepens, protesters have denounced the Paris meeting and promised to condemn any international financial assistance to a government they see as corrupt and illegitimate.

Lebanon's caretaker economy minister Mansour Bteish said the country's economy is losing at least $70 million-$80 million a day - about half its usual income - due to the crisis that has paralysed the country, he told broadcaster MTV on Wednesday.
Bteish said the situation is "worsening" and requires a quick solution. 
Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned Oct. 29, but he has stayed on as caretaker prime minister since politicians have been unable to form a new government. Protesters want to see a non-sectarian, technocratic government — and they want all traces of the old regime, including Hariri, out of office.
France and the US have made clear they support a new government in Lebanon.
Speaking in Washington on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that “the responsibility lies with the Lebanese people” to push for a new political order. He said the US is ready to “do the things that the world can do to assist the Lebanese people getting their economy right and getting their government right.”
The US has escalated its sanctions on the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group, which dominates the national unity government that Hariri headed.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a press conference ahead of the Paris meeting that Lebanese authorities must “take into account the call of the street.” He urged Lebanese authorities to “form a government rapidly because any delay will aggravate the situation.”
Meanwhile, dozens of protesters in Beirut and Paris rallied Wednesday to call on the leaders meeting in France not to give financial assistance until a new government comes together.
“This authority ... no longer represents the Lebanese,” said a protester in Beirut reading a letter to be delivered to the French ambassador. Calling the current government corrupt, the protester said: “We don’t want (that aid) to go to waste.”
Hariri has called on Saudi Arabia, France, Turkey, the United States, China, and Egypt to send funds to help Lebanon finance imports.
But international donors are unlikely to write a check without substantial commitments to reform. More than 50 countries pledged last year to give Lebanon $11 million in aid, conditioned on Hariri implementing long-stalled reforms. Promised reforms never materialized.