Middle East

Government looks to expand mobile sector

File - Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi talks to media in Damascus April 29, 2013, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA. (REUTERS/SANA/Handout)

BEIRUT: Around 40 percent of Syria’s cellular network has been destroyed by the war, but the government is searching for an operator to run a third mobile network, the prime minister said Sunday.

Addressing an economic policy subcommittee, Wael Halqi said the government was determined to help the two mobile companies, after the damage sustained in “repeated attacks by armed terrorist groups,” according to state news agency SANA.

The government, he continued, was determined to support the two mobile firms and help them by coming up with “a new contract formula that will achieve additional investment” without burdening the public with higher phone rates.

Halqi also said the government was looking to involve a third mobile operator, relying on contacts with “friendly countries,” in order to boost competitiveness in the sector.

South Africa’s MTN and Syriatel, owned by Rami Makhlouf, the cousin of President Bashar Assad, are currently the country’s two mobile phone operators.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 24, 2014, on page 8.




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