Batelco set to take control of Qualitynet

MANAMA: Batelco will take majority control of Kuwait’s Qualitynet after agreeing to double its stake in the Internet provider, the company said yesterday.

Batelco, which operates in 14 countries, will buy 46 per cent of Qualitynet from Ali Al Ghanim and Sons for an undisclosed fee, raising the Bahraini firm’s holding to 90pc from 44pc.

The deal will likely be concluded in March, a company statement said.

Kuwait’s Communications Ministry owns and operates the country’s fixed-line infrastructure, with four major Internet service providers including Qualitynet paying the government to use it.

Qualitynet’s 2013 revenue was BD31.3 million ($83m), down 8.9pc from 2012, which provided Batelco with a profit of BD2.41m, the latter’s annual report shows.

As of September 2012, Qualitynet claimed a 45pc share of Kuwait’s fixed-line Internet market, which operates largely on a copper-based network.

The lack of widespread fibre connectivity has led many Kuwaiti residents to opt instead for mobile Internet provided by the country’s three mobile operators – Zain, Saudi Telecom Company affiliate VIVA and Wataniya, a subsidiary of Qatar’s Ooredoo.

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