KUWAIT CITY (AFP) — Kuwait’s telecom giant Zain will launch its mobile phone service in Saudi Arabia on August 26, the group said Monday in a statement.
Last year, a Zain-led consortium won the third mobile phone licence in the oil-rich kingdom after making the highest bid of 6.1 billion dollars.
At the start, Zain in Saudi Arabia will cover 95 percent of the population, using 3.5G broadband technology to half the population, the statement said.
With the launch of service in Saudi Arabia, Zain now operates in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East and connects customers in 16 of them to the “One-Network” service.
The service allows clients to make calls across borders and be treated as local customers in terms of pricing. Zain plans to extend the service to other countries.
Zain in Saudi Arabia plans to invest between six and eight billion dollars in the next five years.
“We are delighted to launch services in the economic powerhouse of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we intend to fulfill our promise to offer the community world class telecom services,” Zain CEO Saad al-Barrak said.
Barrak said that Zain is working to expand its customer base to 150 million clients in 2011, from 45 million at present, and become one of the top 10 global operators.
Founded in 1983, Zain is capitalised at 27 billion dollars.