Zain Group will transfer management of state-owned operator Touch to the Lebanese government by the end of this month, reported Lebanon’s official National News Agency.
Kuwaiti-based Zain Group will transfer its control of Touch on October 30, a decision made in a meeting lead by minister of industry Hussein Hajj Hassan with the Lebanese communications committee, which included caretaker minister of telecoms Talal Hawwat, reported the news agency.
Touch will be known as MIC 2 (Mobile Interim Company 2) after the handover later this month. Lebanon’s other state-owned operator Alfa was taken back under the government’s wing from Egypt-owned Orascom in early September, which assumed the name of MIC 1.
TeleGeography reported since 2004 Touch was managed by Zain on behalf of the Lebanese government, it was meant to come under government control in late September but the process was delayed.
“The next government is the one that will decide on the management process of the sector, but we must benefit from the experience of past years and the mistakes that were made in order to prevent corruption and waste,” said Hassan.
In June, the Lebanese government was reportedly aiming to hold an auction for management of Alfa and Touch at the end of September, opening the process to more international companies along with Zain and Orascom.
GSMA Intelligence figures showed the two incumbent operators were on almost equal footing in terms of connections at the end of 2019. Touch