Wireline licensees given final approval

26 Feb 2008

Saudi Arabia’s three newest fixed line licensees have officially been awarded their concessions after gaining approval from the Cabinet. Consortia led by Batelco of Bahrain, Verizon Communications of the US and PCCW of Hong Kong won an auction for the licences in April last year. The trio will be providing the first fixed line competition to the current monopolist Saudi Telecom Company (STC). The Batelco consortium, which also involves Saudi Arabia’s Atheeb group, has announced plans to invest USD1 billion in its wireline operations over the next five years. The three firms have agreed to sell off 25% of their shares via initial public offers, 10% stakes to a state pension fund and 5% to a social insurance organisation, Reuters reports.