Capacity - - Middle East -

Qatar op­er­a­tor Ooredoo is in dis­pute with the coun­try’s reg­u­la­tor over ac­cess to ducts re­quested by a car­rier-neu­tral whole­sale broad­band com­pany.

The dis­pute fol­lows a re­port from Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity (CRA) say­ing that Ooredoo – for­merly Qtel, and 52% owned di­rectly by the govern­ment – was en­gaged in un­com­pet­i­tive prac­tices be­cause it was deny­ing duct ac­cess to the car­rier-neu­tral Qatar Na­tional Broad­band Net­work (QNBN) and Vodafone Qatar.

Ooredoo has re­sponded to the CRA’S claims by say­ing that the re­port has “grave er­rors”, adding that al­le­ga­tions its pol­icy dam­ages Qatar’s econ­omy are “su­per­fi­cial”.

The CRA said that Ooredoo, the for­mer in­cum­bent op­er­a­tor, was deny­ing duct ac­cess to QNBN and Vodafone. The Qatar govern­ment set up QNBN in 2011 with a 25-year li­cence to build a na­tion­wide fi­bre net­work, to which all car­ri­ers would have ac­cess. But the CRA also wanted Ooredoo to let QNBN as well as Vodafone use Ooredoo’s ducts.

The CRA said in its re­port: “Ooredoo’s blunt re­fusal to al­low other op­er­a­tors ac­cess to its duct net­work does not only im­pede QNBN di­rectly, but it also sub­stan­tially lessens com­pe­ti­tion.”

Ooredoo has now replied: “We are a re­spon­si­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion that abides by the rules. How­ever, for the good of the peo­ple, the in­dus­try and Qatar’s vi­sion for growth, it is es­sen­tial for all par­ties to do the same.”

It also com­plained: “Ooredoo re­it­er­ates its be­lief that there is a con­flict of in­ter­est in the CRA ad­ju­di­cat­ing com­mer­cial agree­ments re­lat­ing to QNBN, which is af­fil­i­ated to, and ul­ti­mately op­er­ated by, the CRA.”

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