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Tue 30 Jan 2007 04:00 AM

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New Saudi GSM entrant to float 40% share

Eight international players are lined up to bid for Saudi’s third GSM licence, including Orascom Telecom, MTC, Oger Telecom, MTN and Singapore operator SingTel. Industry insiders speculate the mobile licence could fetch up to SR15 billion (US$4 billion).

The Saudi government has issued a mandate that states any prospective mobile or fixed-line entrant float 40% and 25%, respectively, for public subscription.

The government also declared that the state-owned pension fund and the General Organisation for Social Insurance (GOSI) would each claim a 5% stake in both the new mobile and landline enterprises, following the endowment of the kingdom’s third GSM concession, and second fixed-line licence, the application deadline for which has been extended to February 24 and March 10 respectively by the Saudi regulatory authority.

"Any company licensed to provide land phone services will float 25% of its capital for public subscription and allocate 10% of its shares to the Pension Fund and GOSI (5% each). It will have the choice to float additional shares four years after its formation," read a Saudi government statement.

Saudi based, and Etisalat-backed cellco Mobily along with Integrated Telecom Co (ITC) recently announced their intentions to bid for the kingdom’s fixed licence, according to released company statements. There have also been unconfirmed rumours suggesting Telecom Egypt will also play a part in the fixed-line tender process.

Eight international players are lined up to bid for Saudi’s third GSM licence, including Orascom Telecom, MTC, Oger Telecom, MTN and Singapore operator SingTel. Industry insiders speculate the mobile licence could fetch up to SR15 billion (US$4 billion).

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