Bayanat to make second stab at Saudi licence

Data service provider Bayanat Al-oula is to make a second attempt to win a public fixed-line telecoms licence in Saudi Arabia, its chief executive revealed this week.

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By  Michele Howe Published  May 17, 2007

Data service provider Bayanat Al-oula is to make a second attempt to win a public fixed-line telecoms licence in Saudi Arabia, its chief executive revealed this week. A Bayanat consortium, backed by Korea Telecom, was one of the seven applicants cut during the recent tender for the Kingdom’s second fixed-line licence. The final three applicants — Batelco/Atheeb, US consortia MCI International/Verizon and Hong Kong-based PCCW — were all awarded fixed-line licences by Saudi’s regulatory authority, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC). “We have submitted a letter asking officially for the reasons of what was wrong with our first application and soon after that we will have to submit [for the fixed-line licence],” Bayanat CEO Abdulmajeed Elshawa told IT Weekly. Bayanat has been offering data services on a corporate level for almost two years in Saudi and is gearing up for the launch of services to the general public on July 7. Elshawa said Bayanat's operations were already voice compatible. “Everything we are building at Bayanat is voice ready, it [the licence] is basically a permit to offer the service. It is just a legal issue,” he said. Permission to offer voice in Saudi Arabia would put Bayanat in direct competition with four other fixed-line service providers — incumbent Saudi Telecom Company (STC) plus the three new service providers — but Elshawa said this would not be a problem. “We believe that the market is quite big and there is plenty of space to compete between us,” he said.

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