That investment by Zain delayed the decision, originally due on 4 September, but there has been no hint until now that all bidders would be rejected.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications has announced that it “has instructed the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) to cancel the current bid”.
It said the new licence will instead go to “a consortium of a local company owned by investment funds and its global partner which has the necessary capabilities and potentials in this field”.
No one has yet suggested any names for the parties likely to be involved. The state-controlled Oman News Agency said: “The decision comes in bid to enhance the role of the investment funds and enable them to contribute to the growth of the national economy.”
One possible fund is the state-controlled Oman Investment Fund, which has $6 billion worth of funds under management, according to Capacity’s sister publication Institutional Investor.