Saudi Telecom and Etisalat, the two largest telecoms companies in the Middle East, have both bid for Kuwait’s third mobile phone licence.
The two operators confirmed that they had bid for the licence just hours after the deadline for bids closed on 18 November.
Saudi Telecom announced that it had bid in a filing on Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, the Tadawul, late on Sunday.
“Entering the Kuwaiti market would boost the integration of the telecommunications networks in the two countries,” it said in a statement.
Mohammad Hassan, chairman of Omran Etisalat said during a speech at the Telecom World conference in Dubat that it ahd also tabled a bid.
The Kuwait Investment Authority and the Ministry of Communications, which are jointly organising the auction, will announce the winner shortly.
The winner will own 26 per cent of the third operator. Kuwait’s government will keep 24 per cent and the remainder will be floated on the Kuwait Stock Exchange.
Etisalat has also launched a global voice and data network that it can sell to other telecoms operators wanting connections to the Middle East.
The company’s subsidiaries outside the UAE will also be able to use the new wholesale network, which should be cheaper than using other operators’ networks.