Qatar Telecom (Qtel) subsidiary Tunisiana has launched 3G services. The operator agreed to pay TND205 million ($132 million) for the right to provide 3G and fixed-line services in the country in May 2012. Tunisiana has agreed a fee for the provision of 3G and fixed-line services, after previously seeing its bids rejected by the Tunisian government. Dr Nasser Marafih, Chief Executive Officer of the Qtel Group, said: "This is an important step in our ability to broaden the range of services we are able to offer customers and better serve their needs."
In March, Tunisiana agreed the technical terms for the licence reward for 3G and fixed-line services. However, its bids of TND36 million for a fixed-line licence and TND125 million for a 3G licence were later rejected in April. Agreeing on suitable fees has enabled the operator to launch a 3G network in, whilst fixed-line services will be launched at the beginning of next year, in line with guidelines from the regulator. Tunisiana will initially roll out its network across 48% of the country's population; by the end of the year it hopes to cover 71% of the population, whilst by the end of 2013 it aims to provide 3G coverage to 87% of the population. The operator is commencing its offering with three 3G smartphones, one tablet and a range of 3G-enabled USB modems. Tunisiana was one of Qtel's most successful units in the first quarter of 2012, generating revenues of QAR645.9 million ($171.4 million), up 10.48% year-on-year (y/y) from QAR584.6 million recorded a year earlier. The operator increased its subscriber-base by 14% y/y to 6.82 million in the first quarter. Tunisiana will therefore be keen to continue its strong growth when 3G services are rolled out.