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Virgin Mobile, Jawraa Lebara, and Axiom awarded MVNO licences in Saudi

Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa (VMMEA) is one of three companies to win a virtual telecom licence in Saudi Arabia, the industry regulator said this week.

Five companies had bid for the Saudi mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences. VMMEA will launch an MVNO on STC’s network, the Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) confirmed in a statement on its website.

Jawraa Lebara is the second winning bidder, and is partnered with Mobily; while Dubai-based retailer Axiom Telecom was the winner of the third licence and will purchase capacity from Zain Saudi Arabia.

Local companies FastNet and Safari were losing bidders.

"The aim of these licences is to improve the level of telecommunications services and information technology … and to contribute to lower their prices, improve customer care, increase job opportunities for citizens and to stimulate competition," CITC said in the statement.

Saudi will become the second of the six Gulf Cooperation Council members after Oman to allow MVNOs.

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