Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has won the Kuwaiti government’s auction for a 26% stake in the country’s yet-to-be-launched third mobile operator with a bid of KWD248.7 million (USD908 million). STC offered KWD0.923 per share for 130 million shares in the new cellco, beating offers from eight rival bidders which included Etisalat, Turkcell, Batelco and a number of financial institutions, according to a statement from the Kuwait Investment Authority, which is handling the sale. A further 50% of the new cellco is to be sold off in an initial public offer early next year, with the Kuwaiti government retaining a 24% interest. The new operator will compete with existing players Zain and Wataniya. STC says it expects to take 30% of the Kuwaiti mobile market within ten years.