Frequency allocated for 2nd Palestinian cell phone network

Palestinian officials said Israel has allocated a frequency for a second Palestinian mobile operator. The mobile operator, called Wataniya, is expected to start operations next year. It will compete with the current company, Jawwal. The project is backed by Mideast envoy Tony Blair, who is promoting Palestinian economic development. Blair said in a statement on Wednesday that the new cell phone carrier will inject more than $200 million in license fees into Palestinian coffers. Wataniya said the new operator will create 2,500 jobs. The company is owned by Qatar Telecom and the Palestine Investment Fund. In December, Israeli officials said they would allow the Palestinians to set up a second cellular phone network.