BEIRUT: New tender documents for international companies seeking to bid for the operation of Lebanons two cellular networks will be complete within three months, Telecommunications Minister Talal Hawat said Friday.

After completing the tender documents, I will present it to Cabinet and the tender department to take the necessary measures in order to launch the tender, Hawat said in a televised news conference.

Lebanons Telecommunications Ministry was authorized by the Cabinet in early May to temporarily operate the countrys two cellular networks until a new tender is launched

The contracts with touch (Zain) and Alfa (Orascom) expired at the end of 2019 but the government asked them to continue operating the networks until they decided what to do with them.

It is estimated that the networks generate over $1 billion in net revenue to the state each year.

Alfa and touch together operate over 4 million cellular lines in Lebanon.

A source previously told The Daily Star that revenues to the state had fallen by 10 percent last year due to difficult economic conditions and the heavy use of WhatsApp.

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