OOREDOO IN DISPUTE WITH REGULATOR OVER WHOLESALE PROVIDER’S ACCESS TO DUCTS
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.”