Batelco buys Jordan 3G telco licence for $70m
Dubai, January 24, 2012
Bahrain-based Batelco Group has bought a third-generation (3G) telecoms licence in Jordan for JD50 million ($70 million) via Umniah, a 96-per cent owned subsidiary, the leading operator said in a statement on Tuesday.
Umniah has obtained a 3G license pursuant from the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) and will invest towards infrastructure and network expenses related to the roll out during the next six months.
Umniah acquired 2.1 GHz of spectrum from the TRC, preparing it to move forward with the rollout of the advanced 3.75G services to its growing customer base. Umniah currently serves more than 2.3 million customers in Jordan, giving it a 31 per cent market share.
Umniah CEO Ihab Hinnawi stated that Umniah’s new high-speed Internet services, applicable on both smartphones and PCs, will dramatically enhance customer experience and will enable Umniah to better cater to subscribers’ evolving demands in line with local market directions and purchasing power.
Hinnawi explained that this step corresponds with Umniah’s belonging to technology and innovation, its customer-centric approach and its long-standing track record of accomplishments in helping raise both mobile and Internet penetration across the Kingdom.
“Through our 3G services, we seek to facilitate Internet and data access as well as deliver original and innovative content, services and applications that boost businesses’ efficiency and constructively influence subscribers’ daily lives,” he said.
“With our high-speed Internet services, Umniah subscribers will enjoy an exceptional customer experience, increasing the Company’s positive impact on the Jordanian telecom sector and the community at large.”
Batelco Group CEO, Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa, said, “Overseas growth remains a core part of Batelco Group’s strategy and this investment serves to underscore our focus on driving growth and building on our market leading positions in key markets for the Group such as Jordan where we see significant opportunities and room for further penetration.”
“We have already derived significant value from our investment in Umniah and we expect that with the development of Umniah’s service offering through 3G capabilities, we will achieve even further gains in market share and enhanced results as we go forth.”
Jordan’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology Basem Al Rousan said: “With the Kingdom setting its sights on becoming the Mena region’s ICT hub, it is paramount that we empower industry players to embrace the latest technological developments and advancements in the field. We feel that Umniah’s investment in 3G is a step towards greater industry readiness to take on the challenge of driving the innovation curve in the region.”
Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) chief commissioner Mohammad Al Taani said: “Thriving markets are those that enjoy a healthy dose of competition, which is why we are pleased with this new development. Jordan’s telecom sector has consistently been ranked amongst the most competitive in the region, and by granting Umniah the 3G license we feel that the sector will be able to bolster its activities and better serve local market needs.”
Scheduled to be launched nationwide between the second and third quarter of year 2012, Umniah's advanced 3.75G services will ensure fast and accurate transfer of data and will provide subscribers with instant Multimedia Services (MMS).
Service deployment will take place via an Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) infrastructure - considered the latest and most mature in 3G services. Umniah’s network is already 3G ready with more than 1500 sites prepared to deploy 3G services. - TradeArabia News Service