Orascom interested in Saudi licence

22 May 2006

Egypt’s Orascom group has confirmed that it will be taking part in the Saudi government’s auction of a third GSM mobile licence. Orascom’s chairman Naguib Sawiris told Reuters: “We are interested and we are going to bid,” adding: “But we do not intend to take a major stake, we will take a small stake – this one is going to be expensive.” Saudi Arabia currently has a single fixed line operator, STC, while the mobile market is a duopoly between STC and newer player Mobily, which is owned by UAE-based Etisalat. The government plans to offer at least one new concession in each market by the end of the year.