Saudi Arabia to issue MVNO licences

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is planning to issue three MVNO licences during 2012, according to newswire Reuters.

It is thought the Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) will issue the three MVNO licences instead of a fourth conventional mobile licence.

Although widespread in Europe, MVNOs are a rarity in the Gulf where presently only Oman has issued the licences. The Saudi regulator’s decision to introduce MVNOs to the domestic market next year is likely to increase competition of services.

According to a report from the Riyadh-based Economics Studies House commissioned by African communications conglomerate MTN Group, the penetration rate of mobile phones in Saudi Arabia is predicted to grow from the present level of 32% to 60% by 2014, with over 20 million subscribers.

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