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Vodafone, which plans to start operations in Qatar in March, said on Wednesday it still had no firm date for a proposed initial public offering (IPO).

The telecom giant, which will begin its final stage of network testing using 1,000 volunteers next month, said it was still awaiting approval from the Qatar Financial Markets Authority (QFMA).

Based on a requirement in Vodafone’s Qatar licence awarded by the country’s telecom regulator ictQATAR, Vodafone should have made the IPO before November 30 last year, Gulf Times reported on Wednesday.

But due to the market conditions, QFMA requested that Vodafone Qatar submit a revised timetable but chief executive officer Grahame Maher said that had not yet been agreed.

He also told the paper that he was confident that outstanding issues with rival Qtel such as inter-connection charges would be sorted out prior to its scheduled launch of mobile services on March 1.

“There are some issues which need to be finalised. But we are hopeful they can be sorted out in the next few weeks,” he said without elaborating.

The two telecom service providers in the country, Qtel and Vodafone, need to agree on interconnection charges, before their customers can link to each other’s network.

Vodafone Qatar is also in talks with Qtel for tower sharing as well as for the approval and construction of radio sites for coverage across the country.

Maher said Vodafone Qatar would also be building towers at hundreds of sites across Qatar.


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