Five groups in running for new mobile telecoms licenses in Saudi

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Five groups are in the running for new 'virtual' mobile-telecoms licenses in Saudi Arabia, the local telecoms regulator said today.

Axiom Mobile, Virgin Mobile Saudi Consortium, Jawraa Consortium ('Lebara'), FastNet Consortium and the Safari Consortium have all met the terms and conditions set by the Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC).

Each has applied for one of several new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licenses being offered in the kingdom. MVNOs typically use other operators' networks to sell mobile services to consumers, and do not have their own telecoms infrastructure.

Existing mobile operators in Saudi Arabia have been told they each have to work with one MVNO, which may operate mobile or data services, or both.

The deadline for accepting MVNO license submissions was yesterday, CITC said.

All applications will be assessed according to the guidelines previously provided, and shortlisted candidates will be announced once the assessment is complete, CITC said. It did not set a date by which it will announce the shortlisted candidates.

The initiative is designed to raise competition between communications firms in Saudi Arabia, as well as offering mobile users a larger variety of packages at lower prices, the CITC said on its website.

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