KUWAIT: Wataniya Telecom is hosting the 39th GSM Arab World forum at the Sheraton Hotel yesterday and today. “Wataniya Telecom is pleased to host this event for the second time (the first was in 2006), and we consider it an essential part of our duty to bring together prominent representatives from the telecom sector. We are proud to meet decision makers of the GSM Association, mobile operators, industry experts, specialists and representatives from various organizations and institutions within the sector,” said Abdulaziz Fakhroo, GM and CEO, Wataniya Telecom, during the launch of the event. “This forum aims to set the criteria and standards of roaming. Over 6 billion people over the world use the GSM system, which reflects the importance of this event,” added Fakhroo.
Undersecretary of the Ministry of Communication Hameed Al-Qattan noted that the privatization of landline phone services will be in the hands of the telecom authority, which will decide the possibility of such a move. “The advantage of calling mobile phones from landlines for free – that is only available in Kuwait – came as service when the third mobile telecommunication company entered the market, as the receiver used to pay for incoming calls in the past. The other companies had to provide the same to compete with this company.
But the ministry is not planning to charge landline users any fees,” he said. “I expect private companies providing landline telecommunication will come soon to the local market. This may be done through one or many companies, but not from the public sector. Kuwait was the pioneer in privatizing mobile telecommunication services and Internet services.
I expect foreign investors will enter the local market in both the telecommunication and Internet fields in the future. Some local companies already have foreign partners, and they are providing high-standard services for their clients. Ownership (of the new companies) will be divided between local and foreign investors according to laws and regulations,” added Qattan.
Qattan said the forum is being held at the right time. “It’s being held during an important period as the telecommunication law was just approved and the telecommunication authority will be soon approved. Also, the telecom sector has contributed greatly to the positive growth of the national economy,” concluded Qattan. According to Ziad Al-Hasson, this forum focuses on various important issues, among which the most important is spectrum management. “This event is an annual gathering that brings together at least 40 Arab operations, vendors, service providers and high ranking government officials under one roof to make a great environment for business relations and knowledge sharing. We prepared this event’s agenda to discuss the GSM industry’s challenges and opportunities in Kuwait and the rest of the Arab countries,” he pointed out.
By Nawara Fattahova
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