Telecoms & IT

Syria is planning to issue a long-awaited licence for a third telecoms operator at the beginning of next year, according to the country’s telecommunications minister.
MTN, a telecoms group based in South Africa, has announced that it is negotiating to sell its stake in one of the country’s two mobile phone companies, marking the exit of the last large foreign investor still present in Syria.
The management of Syriatel has effectively shifted to the Syrian government after a Syrian court granted judicial custody of the company to a state entity.
The past week has seen a stunning succession of decisions, statements, appointments and resignations that illustrate the piling up of government pressure on Rami Makhlouf to silence him once and for all and restructure Syria’s telecommunications sector.
Three board members of MTN-Syria resigned this week as government pressure continues to impact the telecoms sector.
Preliminary results indicate that Syriatel and MTN-Syria maintained their respective shares of the mobile phone market after seeing revenue growth of around 20 percent.
The Ministry of Finance has frozen the assets and bank accounts of MTN-Syria and of several of its board members, a decision that signals that it wants to put pressure on one of the country’s largest companies.
The Syrian authorities are putting more pressure on Syriatel, the country’s largest private sector company, The Syria Report has learned.
Syria’s two mobile phone operators have posted a significant increase in their 2018 profits, largely thanks to the lower annual license fee paid to the government.
Damascus and Tehran are negotiating again the award of a mobile phone license to an Iranian company.
MTN-Syria has received a preliminary approval to list its shares on the Damascus Securities Exchange, potentially opening the way for the sale of the stakes of some of the company’s main shareholders.
Syriatel has received the initial approval to list its shares on the Damascus Securities Exchange.
The half year results posted by Syria’s two mobile phone companies confirm the growing gap between them as Rami Makhlouf’s Syriatel now holds more than two thirds of the market.
China’s Huawei is considering withdrawing from Syria, posing a serious challenge to the country’s telecommunications sector, and highlighting the unwillingness of Chinese companies to take the Syria risk.
Turk Telecom has reportedly established a customer service centre in the Euphrates Shiel Area, further entrenching the Turkish presence there.


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