Telcos claim to be the third-largest combined telecoms group in the MENA region

Omantel is now Zain’s second-largest shareholder having completed the acquisition of an additional stake in the company.

The Omani incumbent announced in late October that it would purchase a 12.1% stake in Zain for US$1.35 billion, taking its total holding in the company to 21.9%.

That transaction required the successful completion of a formal auction process, which took place on Sunday.

"Together we have created a new regional telecoms group that will drive the digitisation of Oman and the wider region," Omantel CEO Talal Said Marhoon Al Mamari said, in a statement at the weekend.

The executive talked up the telcos’ combined scale and potential for generating revenue growth and launching new services.

"This is the right partnership to take our businesses to the next level and we are excited about our combined prospects within the exciting region in which we operate," he said.

Together the companies will be the third-largest combined telecoms group in the MENA region with 52 million customers, they claim.

Omantel reiterated an earlier statement that there will be changes to the Zain board to reflect Omantel’s presence as a major shareholder, but the telcos have yet to make any concrete announcement on that score.