Wataniya Palestine prepares for Gaza launch

Telco confirms plan to launch Gaza operation in early second half of 2012.
Wataniya Palestine has already invested $25m in telecoms equipment for Gaza.
Wataniya Palestine has already invested $25m in telecoms equipment for Gaza.

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Wataniya Palestine is preparing to launch mobile services in Gaza in the “early second half” of 2012, and has already invested $25 million in telecoms equipment for the region, Bassam Hanoun, CEO, Wataniya Palestine, told CommsMEA.

The operator is waiting for clearance to move the equipment in to Gaza for deployment, but has already acquired site clearance for base stations and is working on arrangements for the call centre.

The operator is working with Ericsson for the deployment, which is for 2G services.

While Wataniya Palestine’s licence covers 3G services, it lacks the required spectrum to launch services, Hanoun said. He added that the telco expects to have about 470,000 active subscribers in the West Bank by the end of 2011.

The operator had originally intended to launch services in Gaza in January 2012, but the launch was delayed owing to restrictions from Israel on importing the required telecoms equipment.

Wataniya Palestine is part of Kuwait-based Wataniya Telecom group, which is owned by Qatar's Qtel Group.
 

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