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Saudi Telecom bids for Bahrain mobile licence

STC competes with home firm Batelco and Kuwait's Zain for third license.

Saudi Telecom (STC), the Arab world's biggest telecom firm by market value, said on Monday it had made a bid for Bahrain's third mobile phone licence.

At least four companies have registered to bid for the licence to become the third mobile network operator in Bahrain, an island of about 1.05 million people and the smallest Gulf Arab economy.

"In line with declared investement strategy of seeking promising investment opportunities, Saudi Telecom announces it has expressed interest on Jan. 11 in the mobile phone licence in Bahrain and presented its financial offer," it said in a statement on the bourse website.

"So it is among the companies that have bid to compete for the licence."

The new mobile operator would compete with Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) and Zain, a unit of Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Co.

Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) had extended the deadline after receiving requests from the "majority of registered parties".

STC has spent about $6.7 billion over the past two years in deals that opened markets spanning from India to South Africa and Turkey.

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