Mobily wins approval for $400mn Bayanat buy

Saudi regulator gives green light to telecom to purchase internet service provider.

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By  Andrew Hammond Published  March 18, 2008

Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) said on Tuesday it won regulatory approval to buy data provider Bayanat Al-Oula for 1.5 billion riyals ($400 million).

Mobily said in September it agreed to buy the firm.

The green light from the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) is likely to increase competition in broadband services since Bayanat is licensed to deploy a WiMax wireless internet access network in the kingdom.

WiMax - seen as the big brother to the WiFi standard, which only works near a transmitter - allows anyone with a WiMax-enabled laptop or media device to download songs, movies and business presentations over distances of up to 50 kilometres.

Mobily also said its share in a 1 billion riyal, 12,000-kilometre national fiber optic backbone would rise to 66% from 33%.

The company, in which UAE-based Etisalat is the biggest shareholder, has made the development of broadband and data services a priority as competition heats up with the entry of third mobile phone operator Zain Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)

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