Qatar Telecom boosts stake in Kuwaiti telecom firm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Qatar Telecom says it is paying $1.8 billion to substantially boost its stake in Kuwaiti telecommunications operator Wataniya.

The Qatari firm said Sunday it will own 92.1 percent of Wataniya, which is known officially as the National Mobile Telecommunications Company. It already holds a 52.5 percent stake.

Qatar Telecom, or Qtel, didn't say who sold the shares. Wataniya's ownership is split between individual shareholders and the government's Kuwait Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund.

Qtel is majority-owned by the Qatari government. It has more than 83 million customers in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.