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Mobily celebrates first year

Saudi Arabia's second mobile operator has passed the 3.83 million subscriber mark as it celebrates its first birthday, with its network covering over 65 cities and 13,000 kilometres of highway.

Saudi Arabia’s second mobile operator Mobily has celebrated its first birthday, announcing that its subscriber base has passed 3.83 million. Launching on May 25 2005, the operator managed to reach its first million users in just three months of operation. The Mobily network now covers over 65 Saudi cities and more than 13,000 kilometres of highway, excluding national roaming agreements with the incumbent mobile provider, Al Jawal.

Mobily, run by Etisalat, plans to install over 2,500 base stations and cover 90% of the kingdom’s population by mid 2006. The operator is working with Alcatel, Motorola, Ericsson and Huawei to complete this project. More than 880 base stations have already been installed for 3G and 3.5G services, and Mobily has said it plans to commerically launch its 3G network in the coming months.

Mobily already offers its subscribers an array of value added services such as location-based services, international roaming for prepaid SIM cards, and GPRS and GPRS EDGE roaming.

The entry of Mobily into the Saudi market has raised the nature and quality of the services available in the market, and Al Jawal has responded by bringing to market a range of applications, including its own location-based services. Last week it launched 3G, and currently counts around 12 million subscribers, up from just over 8 million users when Etisalat won the second GSM licence in August 2004.

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