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250 villages to get connected
Source: http://main.omanobserver.om/node/151481
Source Date: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Focus: Internet Governance
Country: Oman (Sultanate of)
Created: Mar 04, 2013

BARKA — Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), in collaboration with Omantel and Nawras, announced the construction of more than 200 new stations to cover 250 villages in different parts of the Sultanate. This came at a meeting at Al Nahdha Resort here yesterday under the chairmanship of Dr Hamad bin Salim al Rawahi, Chief Executive Officer of TRA. The meeting was attended by Shaikh Hilal bin Said al Hajri, Governor of South Al Batinah, among other officials.
Dr Hamad said that we growth of the telecommunication sector has a direct impact on social and economic activities, including productivity rates in the public and private sectors. The contribution of the telecom sector to the GDP rose to 1.8 per cent as of the 2011 official statistics. The sector absorbed about 4,300 employees, 91 per cent of whom are Omanis, said Dr Hamad.

He pointed out that during last year, TRA conducted a number of initiatives, including re-planning of frequencies focusing on villages that were earlier deprived of the services. To this end, an agreement has been reached with telecom operators Omantel and Nawras to build more than 200 new stations to cover 250 villages at all different governorates in the Sultanate. This falls outside the obligations of the operators as per their licences.

Dr Hamad noted that the implementation of this initiative requires the collaboration of all stakeholders. Then, Yousef al Balushi, Senior Manager of Spectrum Management Unit at TRA, gave a visual presentation on TRA objectives and jurisdictions. He highlighted the current challenges facing TRA, such as the misconception that the telecommunication tariffs in the Sultanate are higher compared to the neighbouring or foreign countries and difficulty to get radio frequency for corporate use, the issuing of licences and the development of competition policies.
He presented the plans of the operators for South Al Batinah villages. Omantel will construct 55 stations for 2G, 73 satiations for 3G and 11 stations for 4G whereas Nawras will construct 12 stations for 2G, 50 stations for 3G and 17 stations for 4G.
“The initiative includes Al Hamtteen, Al Wuqaibah, Jabal Dhuwi, Jafr, Wadi Al Ghail, Dhaidha, Al Beir, Al Hajir, Al Soudi, Al Air, Al Ghour, Al Qaryah , Al Mahdouth, Al Hafi, Tahir Al Khar and Fajri in the Wilayat of al Rustaq. It will also include Dakm and Halhal villages in the Wilayat of Al Awabi, as well as Al Faiq, Al Hajir, Al Mobiyeen and Saqla in the Wilayat of Nakhal and Mayaqea’ in the Wilayat of Wadi Al Ma’awel,” he concluded. — ONA

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