Dubai: A consortium led by Kuwait’s Mobile Telecom Co. has pipped India’s two largest private mobile operators, Bharti and Reliance, in a race to acquire a mobile licence in Saudi Arabia.
Mobile Telecom Co. (MTC) emerged the highest bidder with an offer of $6.11 billion (Rs27,495 crore) leaving behind Bharti Telecom and Reliance.
When contacted, Reliance spokesman declined to comment on the development. However, sources said Reliance was given the stake in joint venture for offering the management expertise.
Meanwhile, the Communications and Information Technology Commission, the telecom regulator said that the winner would require Cabinet approval, clarifying that the announcement of the bids did not necessarily mean that the successful applicant had been determined.
“Determining the successful applicant will require evaluation of documents attached with financial proposals. Results of the evaluation would then be considered by the CITC’s board of directors in preparation for submission to the Council of Ministers for the final approval of results and determination of the third mobile license winner,” he was quoted as saying in media.
Other companies competing for the license were: Samawat- Bharti (which offered SR17.25 billion),Tawasul-Digicel (SR16.125 billion),Oger Telecom (SR15 billion),Kingdom Turkcell (SR11.25 billion), Abdullah Abdul Aziz Al-Rajhi- Reliance (SR11.25 billion) and MTN Saudi Arabia (SR8.4 billion).
According to estimates, Saudi Arabia has already 70% penetration in the mobile telepohony and therefore their bid was as per the future potential in the kingdom.