The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (SCITC) has pre-qualified 11 international consortia for the Kingdom's second mobile operator license. The selected groupings will be able to officially apply for the 25-year GSM tender from April 11, 2004, reported Arab News.
The consortia were selected from 12 applicants who took part in the prequalification bid, which ended on March 21. Among the selected groups are the UK's Vodafone, Germany's Deutsche Telecom, Spain's Telefonica and consortium led by the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat).
According to a SCITC statement, the commission will announced the winner of the license during the fourth quarter of 2004. Other consortia in the running are Austria's Mobilkom, Kuwait's Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC), MTN Saudi Arabia, Oger Telecom, Orascom Telecom Saudi Arabia, Telecom Italia Mobile and Integrated Visions (Maxis).
According to SCITC regulations, each applying consortia must comprise at least five Saudi companies and one mobile operator. The selected grouping must commit to forming a Saudi joint stock company and the founding shareholders will undergo a two-year lock-in period. Some 20 percent of the company’s share will be made available for public subscription.
Saudi GSM revenues are expected to reach $ 7.9 billion in 2007, up from $ 3.4 billion in 2002, the Arab Advisors Group . The Kingdom has one of the largest mobile markets in the Middle East with more than seven million subscribers. — (menareport.com)
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