Saudi Arabia selects companies for MVNO licences

Saudi Arabia selects companies for MVNO licences

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has selected three companies for its MVNO licences as it makes further attempts to liberalise its telecoms market.

A total of five companies bid for the licences, with the following consortiums proving successful: Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA) and local provider Saudi Telecom; Dubai-based Axiom and Saudi Zain; and Jawaraa Lebara and Etihad Etisalat.

The kingdom’s telecoms regulator, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), invited companies to submit applications in January, and the successful applicants are now said to have 90 days to meet the requirements for the licences.

The move comes at a time when Saudi Arabia government has come under criticism for blocking the services of online messaging company Viber.

Many Gulf regulators have previously been reluctant to adopt the MVNO model, which is common in Europe and other developed markets, due to the mobile operators being government-controlled.

For a full report on Saudi Arabia’s telecoms market click here.

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