DUBAI- Oman has cancelled tenders for the country's third mobile licence as it has decided to award it to a consortium of local investment funds and an international operator, the state news agency ONA reported on Wednesday.

Oman's transportation and telecommunication ministry directed the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to cancel the current tenders and proceed with the new decision starting by Oct. 18, ONA said citing a statement from the ministry.

The decision aims to strengthen investment funds in the country, ONA said. It did not give details on when TRA would award the third licence.

The new operator will compete with Oman Telecommunications Co. OTEL.OM (Omantel) and Ooredoo Oman ORDS.OM .

Oman had already received bids from Saudi Telecom 7010.SE (STC), Kuwait's Zain ZAIN.KW , Sudan's Sudatel SDTL.AD , and the United Arab Emirates' Etisalat ETEL.AD for the licence.

The licence was to be awarded on Sept. 4, though regional media had reported that was delayed until Nov. 30.

Omantel bought a ten percent stake in bidder Zain in August, and has since said it plans to increase its holding.

(Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi and Alexander Cornwell. Editing by Jane Merriman) ((;))