A Vodafone led consortium was awarded the second mobile telecoms licence in Qatar on Monday, beating rival bids from Verizon and Etisalat.

ictQatar, the country’s telecoms regulator said the Vodafone and Qatar Foundation Consortium had been successful, submitting the highest bid in the second round auction.

Other eligible consortiums submitting bids were the Verizon led Argos group and Etisalat.

Vodafone is expected to launch services during 2008, catering to one of the richest nations on earth.

Hessa Al-Jaber, secretary general of the regulator, said “This is an important milestone in the liberalisation of the telecommunications market in Qatar. The introduction of competition will benefit the people and economy of Qatar. We congratulate the successful applicant and we thank all those who participated in the process.”