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Saudi Arabia's second and third largest mobile operators, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Zain Saudi Arabia have reportedly paid the first installments (30 percent of the total amount) for the acquisition of additional spectrum in the 1800MHz band. The new spectrum will be valid for fifteen years, after it goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

Mobily paid SAR126.9 (US$33 million) for its first payment installment and Zain KSA paid SAR 253.8 million (US$68 million), before the deadline of September 11. The fees must be paid in equal installments (7 percent of the total each) over ten years, with the first installment due in 2019.

According to TeleGeography, CITC, the Saudi communications and IT regulator, awarded the additional 1800MHz spectrum to Zain and Mobily in June this year, following an auction held on May 23. Zain KSA was awarded 2x10MHz in the 1800MHz band for SAR844 million and Mobily gained a 2x5MHz paired block in the 1800MHz band for SAR422 million.

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