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Scandinavian firm Ericsson and Finland's Nokia have signed deals with the Saudi Telecommunications Network to expand the kingdom's mobile phone network. It had been thought that troubled American firm Lucent had won the contract, but this latest announcement has quashed the rumours.

Instead of being dominated by America, Saudi Arabia will be going all Scandinavian later this year when two of the biggest telecom companies in the world come to town to expand the kingdom’s mobile phone network.

Sweden’s Ericsson, which recently halted handset production in order to concentrate on infrastructure development, and Finland’s Nokia, the largest handset maker in the world, have both signed up with the Saudi Telecommunications Company, which refused to reveal the total cost of the contract.

However, a spokesman did say that the new contract will provide “a maximum of 2.8 million lines at an average cost of $243 per line by the end of 2002.”
According to the spokesman, the two European companies were also handed “framework contracts” to supply STC with equipment.

Last month it was widely reported that infrastructure giant Lucent had won the contract, but neither STC nor the troubled American firm ever confirmed the rumours.

Back in June, STC awarded the contracts for an extra 450,000 fixed lines, and again refused to be drawn on the sums of money involved. However, industry insiders valued it at around $320 million.

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