Saudi Telecom gobbles Awalnet ISP

Kingdom's state-owned telephone company snaps up ISP and targets 1 million subscribers.

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By  Reuters Published  April 16, 2007

Saudi Telecommunications Co. (STC), the largest Arab telecoms company by market value, said on Monday it paid SR98.9 million (US $26.37 million) to take a 97% stake in local internet provider AwalNet.

AwalNet's founders will retain a 3% stake in the firm, STC said in a statement on the bourse website. STC said last month it signed a deal to take a majority stake in the internet provider that would raise its market share to 35% from 15%.

STC has said it targets to have 1 million internet subscribers by end-2007, up from 300,000 at the end of the first quarter.

Internet penetration in Saudi Arabia is 10-15% of the 24 million population, against 80% for mobile phones and around 17% for fixed-line phones.

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