A South Korean consortium has won a contract worth USD1 billion from Saudi Arabia to deploy a domestic and international fibre-optic cable network, the state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) announced yesterday. Arabianbusiness.com reports that Korean Middle East Engineering, a joint venture of four South Korean businesses in Saudi Arabia, was named the main contractor for the project by Saudi telco Integrated Telecom Company (ITC). The project’s aims are to establish a national high speed network in Saudi Arabia whilst also connecting with neighbours Sudan, Yemen, Oman and the UAE with undersea fibre-optic cables by December 2013, KOTRA’s statement said. The group beat off competition from Chinese network infrastructure providers to win the contract.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that ITC, whose largest shareholder is the Al-Mawarid Investment Group, provides internet and data services in Saudi Arabia over fibre-optic and WiMAX networks (the latter under the ‘ZOOOM’ brand). ITC also has a partnership with fellow Saudi operators Mobily and Bayanat Al-Oula to build and operate shared national fibre-optic backbone infrastructure, and the telco has also established international fibre connections with the submarine systems of FALCON, owned by India’s Reliance, and Qatar-based Gulf Bridge International.