Oman's new fixed-line licence covers the Governorate of Muscat. Oman's new fixed-line licence covers the Governorate of Muscat.

Oman has awarded a third fixed-line licence to a consortium consisting of Awaser Oman Co and Hong Kong-based telco, PCCW International, according to Oman's telecoms regulator.

The licence will allow the consortium to provide fixed-line voice and data services in the Governorate of Muscat for 25 years.

A source at one of Oman's existing operators told CommsMEA that they expected more details of the third licence to be issued within the next two weeks.

The new operator will compete with Oman’s two existing fixed-line operators, incumbent telco Omantel, and second operator, Nawras.

It is not the first time that the Awaser Oman Co and PCCW International consortium has tried to enter the Omani telco space. Back in 2008, the consortium was named as the winning bidder for a Class One licence to establish fixed-line public telecom services in the Sultanate. However, the tender failed to progress further, and the consortium failed to gain the licence.

Nawras, which is a division of Qatar’s Qtel Group, won its fixed-line licence in November 2008 and has since deployed nationwide coverage using a combination of WiMAX and fibre.

At the end of H1 2012, Oman had 295,946 fixed-line subscribers, giving a fixed-line penetration rate of 10.6%. This compared with 4.9 million mobile subscribers and a mobile penetration rate of 180%.

Awaser Oman Co and PCCW International were not available for further comment when contacted by CommsMEA.