KSA grants three fixed licences

Three consortia have won licences to provide fixed-line services in Saudi Arabia, bringing an end to the monopoly of Saudi Telecom Company (STC).

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By  Administrator Published  April 26, 2007

Three consortia have won licences to provide fixed-line services in Saudi Arabia, bringing an end to the monopoly of Saudi Telecom Company (STC).

In a move set to dramatically change the Kingdom's telecoms landscape, industry regulator the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) announced this week it had awarded licences to all three of the final applicants vying to become the country's second provider of fixed-line services: regional alliance Batelco/Atheeb, US-based consortia MCI International/Verizon, and Hong Kong's PCCW.

CITC also said two of the three - PCCW and Batelco/Atheeb - have applied for wireless spectrum, and will undergo an approval process for this.

The multiple-licence award means there will now be four companies offering fixed-line services in Saudi Arabia.

And the number of players could go even higher if the data licences of Bayanat Al-Oula and Integrated Telecom Company (ITC) are converted to allow them to offer similar services, according to Rogier van Driessche, partner at Delta Partners.

The three new fixed-line operators, selected from a shortlist of ten applicants, have agreed to sell shares in initial public offerings (IPOs) before the end of 2008.

Last month the Saudi government awarded the Kingdom's third mobile licence to Kuwait's MTC.

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