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China’s Huawei Technologiesand Germany’s Siemenshave received letters of intent for the two main packages on the programme to install 3 million new GSM lines across the kingdom for Saudi Telecom. The programme is part of Saudi Telecom’s drive to serve a rapidly expanding GSM subscriber base – now at about 8 million – and in anticipation of competition next year. The development coincided with the launch of the initial public offering (IPO) in Ettihad Etisalat, the consortium led by the UAE’s Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), which will start operating the kingdom’s second GSM network in March 2005 (MEED 23:7:04).