Saudi approves telco services for foreign carriers

Consortiums led by Bahrain Telecommunications , Hong Kong's PCCW and US-based Verizon Communications won final approval to operate new Saudi fixed-line phone networks, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report quoted official news agency SPA as saying that the Saudi cabinet approved a decision under which the three new firms set up to operate the fixed-line services would sell 25% of their shares in initial public offerings, 10% to a state pension fund and 5% to a social insurance body.

Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, had given initial approval to the three groups in April after short-listing them from 10 applicants for licenses to end the monopoly of state-controlled Saudi Telecom, the Reuters report said

The consortium of Bahrain Telecom and Saudi Arabia's Atheeb group plans to invest $1 billion in its fixed-line operation in the first five years of business, Atheeb's chairman said on Sunday, according to the report.