Saudi operator Mobily signed a $200 million agreement with Export Development Canada, to fund the purchase of equipment from Alcatel-Lucent to “upgrade/enhance” its network.
While the details of the supply deal were not revealed in the filing with the Saudi Arabia stock exchange, earlier this year Mobily and Alcatel-Lucent said they are working together for “the first deployment globally of virtualised radio access network software”, from the vendor’s NFV portfolio.
According to the vendor, Mobily was the first operator to launch TD-LTE services, and has the largest active HSPA base in the MENA region.
The new load is described as “Shariah-compliant”, and also involved are banks Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi. It has a total tenor of 10.5 years, and will be used over a period of two years.
Last week, rival Zain Saudi Arabia announced a $1.2 billion network modernisation programme across a number of vendors. This is being funded from Zain’s own pockets, the operator said at the time.
According to GSMA Intelligence figures, Mobily is the second-largest operator in the market, with just under 20 million connections, behind market leader STC, with 23.2 million.
Zain Saudi Arabia is the third-placed player, with 8.4 million connections.