STC sole bidder for third mobile licence

13 Jan 2009

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced in a statement yesterday that Saudi Telecom Company (STC) was the only applicant to bid for the country’s third mobile licence by the deadline on Sunday 11 January. The watchdog had previously reported that four international operators had been pre-qualified, before saying closer to the deadline that two hopefuls had confirmed their interest, whilst domestic alternative telco 2Connect announced last week that it was racing to complete a joint application with Saudi Arabian cellco Etihad Etisalat (Mobily). STC confirmed that it had placed a bid in a statement to the Saudi stock exchange. The TRA will evaluate the financial offer on 22 January after verifying STC meets technical requirements. The news scotches rumours that STC would attempt to buy a government-owned stake in Bahrain’s former monopoly fixed line and mobile operator Batelco, as the TRA has indicated it would disallow the third cellular licensee from doing so on anti-competitive grounds.