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Saudi announces fixed licence bids

Saudi Arabia’s second mobile operator Mobily is among the telcos vying to secure the fixed-line licence currently up for grabs in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s second mobile operator Mobily is among the telcos vying to secure the fixed-line licence currently up for grabs in the Kingdom.

The country’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has announced ten applicants for Saudi’s third fixed-line licence and said it would study the applications over the coming weeks.

Batelco, Qtel-ATCO Clear Wire Telecom and Indian telco MTNL are all also competing for the licence. The other applicants include Verizon, a Khaled Ahmed Al-Jafaly Company and WorldCall Telecom consortium, PCCW Hong Kong, Autelia, China Telecom and Korea Telecom.

Mobily is expected to be a serious contender for the fixed licence, which would help it to consolidate its position in the market. Mobily is estimated to have 20% share of the mobile market in Saudi.

By being able to offer fixed and mobile services, Mobily could “lock in” customers by offering bundled deals on services, analysts have suggested.

IDC analyst Mohsen Malaki last month told IT Weekly bidders for the third mobile licence in Saudi Arabia, which is also currently out to tender, would need to be cautious if Mobily did manage to secure the fixed licence. A “third entrant with mobile only will then have a bigger uphill battle” he said at the time.

Nine telcos are competing for the third mobile licence, with MTNL the sole applicant up for both licences.

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