Saudi telecoms regulator the Communications and IT Commission (CITC) has awarded additional spectrum in the 700MHz and 1800MHz bands to mobile operators Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Zain Saudi Arabia and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), following an auction which was held on 23 May. STC secured a 2×15MHz block in the 700MHz band and additional 8MHz block of paired spectrum in the 1800MHz band for a total of SAR2.507 billion (USD668 million); the concession is valid for a period of 15 years, effective 1 January 2018. The company is required to pay 30% of the licence fee by the end of 2017, with the remainder to be paid in equal instalments (7% of the total each, with the first instalment due in 2019) over ten years.
Zain Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, secured 2×10MHz in the 1800MHz band for SAR844 million; the company said that the new spectrum will boost its LTE network capacity by 50%, while also enhancing service quality. Zain will pay SAR253 million (30%) of the licence fee by the end of 2017, with the remaining amount to be paid in instalments of SAR59.1 million per year over a ten-year period.
For its part, Mobily revealed that it was awarded a 2×5MHz paired block in the 1800MHz band for SAR422 million, with 30% of the sum scheduled to be paid within ten days of concluding the auction; the rest is to be paid in equal instalments over a ten-year period. The additional spectrum will be available in the beginning of 2018, and will allow Mobily to increase its network capacity, improve its customers’ experience and contain its future capital expenditure.