Sweden's Ericsson and the US firm Lucent Technologies have won a $600-million contract in Saudi Arabia to expand the mobile telephone network by more than 1.1 million lines, a newspaper said Tuesday, June 3.
Arab News said Ericsson's share was valued at $360 million, while the remaining $240 million went to Lucent.
Nokia of Finland and the US company Motorola were also in competition for the contract to expand the GSM network, which currently has more than two million lines for a population of around 21 million people.
Sources at the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) told Arab News that the first 600,000 new mobile lines would be operational by the end of the year and the rest in 2002.
Mobile phone growth is estimated at between eight and 10 percent a month in Saudi Arabia, Arab News said, adding that the number of GSM subscribers crossed the two million mark at the end of May.
The government of oil-rich Saudi Arabia decided in May to end the state monopoly on telecommunications, which is controlled by STC, and to open up to foreign capital. The kingdom has more than three million landlines. ― (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)