Tunisiana acquires 3G and fixed-line licences

Qtel's Tunisian operation pays $132m for 3G and fixed-line licences
Tunisia is proving to be a high-growth market for Qtel Group.
Tunisia is proving to be a high-growth market for Qtel Group.

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Tunisiana, the Tunis-based unit of Qatar Telecom (Qtel), acquired licences to operate 3G and fixed- line networks in the North African country, the Ministry for Information Technologies and Communications said.

The company will pay 205 million Tunisian dinars ($132 million) for the rights, the ministry said in a faxed statement to Bloomberg.

Qtel became the majority stakeholder in the North African telecom unit following the completion of its joint venture deal to acquire Orascom Telecom Holding’s 50 percent stake in the firm, the Qatari telecoms operator announced in January 2011.

“As previously communicated, the stock was acquired for a total consideration of $1.2bn,” Qtel said in a statement.

The Tunisiana deal to acquire Cairo-based Orascom’s stake was masterminded as part of Qtel’s joint agreement with the Princesse Holding Consortium, which is led by Sakher El Materi, the son-in-law of former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Under the joint agreement, Princesse Holding will acquire a 25 percent stake in Tunisiana, while National Mobile Telecommunications Company (Wataniya), which is 52.5 percent owned by Qtel, will increase its current stake from 50 to 75 percent, Qtel confirmed in its statement.

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