Wataniya Mobile to Launch 3G Service in Gaza Next Year

If all goes well, Wataniya Palestinian Mobile Telecommunications Public Shareholding Company, otherwise known as Wataniya Mobile, will launch its mobile phone service in Gaza next year. Wataniya is the second mobile telecom operator in the Palestinian territories, and is only waiting to get approval from Israel to use certain frequencies in order to launch its 3G mobile services.

Israeli Frequencies Needed

Bassam Hannoun, the chief executive officer of Wataniya Mobile commented on the upcoming introduction of their mobile service to Gaza:

“We are planning 3G services in 2013. It seems late and we don’t want it to be this way. The acquisition of the frequencies from the Israeli officials is the issue.”

Largest IPO in Ten Years

Watanya Mobile is a subsidiary of Qatar Telecom, or Qtel. Qtel went public at the end of last year, floating 15% of its shares in an IPO which raise $50.3 million. That was the largest sale of shares in the Palestinian territories in 10 years. The only competition facing Wataniya is Palestine Cellular Communications Company, which started its commercial services in late 2009.

“Certainly the entrance into Gaza completes the operations in Palestine and this naturally will increase revenue and integrate the services in the area we are licensed to operate in,” said Hannoun.