Alfa, one of Lebanon’s two mobile network operators, is now officially managed by the Lebanese state.
On Monday, Orascom TMT, the company that manages Alfa, announced that the mobile network operator’s management had been transferred to the Telecommunications Ministry.
Consequently, the company announced the resignation of the service provider’s current board of directors, consisting of members from outside Alfa, and “the election of a new board of directors named by the Ministry of Telecommunications.”
The handover to the state concludes 11 years of Orascom’s management of Mobile Interim Company 1 (MIC1), of which Alfa is the network name, and comes in accordance with the Lebanese Cabinet’s resolution issued on May 5th, 2020.
“We affirm our readiness and willingness to assist in any form when needed, and Lebanon will remain in all our hearts, especially the company’s CEO, Engr. Naguib Sawiris,” Orascom’s statement read.
According to Telecommunications Minister Talal Hawat, the handover was supposed to take place earlier this year but was put off, first due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and then as a result of the recent Beirut Port explosion.
“With the management of Alfa fully returning to the custody of the Telecommunications Ministry, we have accomplished an important step that will be entirely complete with the return of the management of Touch, which is expected very soon,” Hawat said on Monday.
The management of Mobile Interim Company 2 (MIC2), or Touch, is expected to be transferred to the state by the end of September.
When that is done, Lebanon will have gained direct and total control over the telecommunications sector, which has been operated by the private companies Orascom TMT and Zain Group for years.