Vodafone Group announced it has completed the sale of its 51 percent stake in Vodafone Qatar to the Qatar Foundation, which already had a joint stake in Vodafone's Qatar unit. The two companies have entered into a five year agreement, ensuring Vodafone Qatar will continue to use the Vodafone brand and have close ties to Vodafone Group.
Qatar currently faces economic sanctions which could explain Vodafone's exit from its joint venture of ownership. Exiting Qatar seems to be part of the British telecom giant's portfolio rebalancing, according to analysts, especially by selling out of businesses that it doesn't fully control or businesses that don't match its long-term goals.
Vodafone is exiting Qatar at a time when the island nation has a strained relationship with its Arab neighbors in the GCC. A group of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia slapped Qatar with economic sanctions in the middle of 2017, and there is speculation that the economic embargo played a role in Vodafone's decision to sell its stake in the Qatar unit.
Vodafone Qatar commenced commercial operations in Qatar on 1 March 2009 with around 1.4 million customers now actively using Vodafone's services. Having built a converged IP network, in October 2012 Vodafone Qatar launched a comprehensive range of fibre-based enterprise grade and residential fixed products and services.