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Sep 30, 2014

Virgin Mobile launches services in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI, Sept 30 (Reuters) – Virgin Mobile Middle East and
Africa (VMMEA), part-owned by British entrepreneur Richard
Branson’s Virgin Group, launched telecoms services in Saudi
Arabia on Tuesday, beginning the biggest shake-up in the
kingdom’s telecoms sector in six years.

VMMEA is launching two brands after benefiting from the
national telecoms regulator’s decision to order the country’s
three mobile operators to each host a mobile virtual network
operator (MVNO) in an effort to stimulate competition.

Sep 29, 2014

Saudi Telecom’s Bahrain unit bets on data to boost revenue

DUBAI, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Viva Bahrain, the country’s No.2
telecom operator by income, expects data to account for at least
half of revenue within two years – from a quarter now – as it
seeks to counter a decline in conventional calls and texts, its
chief executive told Reuters.

Viva – owned by Saudi Telecom Co (STC), the Gulf’s
biggest telecoms company by market value – launched in Bahrain
in 2010. It became a third player in the small island’s already
saturated market, but managed to win customers by undercutting
rivals, analysts said.

Sep 28, 2014

Soccer-Al Hilal’s Reghecampf wary of Gyan threat in ACL semi

DUBAI, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Asamoah Gyan could ruin Al Hilal’s hopes of making the Asian Champions League (ACL) final, fears coach Laurentiu Reghecampf, despite the Saudi club’s 3-0 lead going into Tuesday’s semi-final second-leg.

Gyan, who last week dismissed “wild and ludicrous” media reports he was involved in an alleged ritual killing of a disappeared rapper friend, is Al Ain’s talisman, netting 12 goals in 11 ACL games for the Emirati club this season.

Sep 23, 2014

Network investment paying off for Omani telco Nawras, says CEO

DUBAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Omani telecom operator Nawras
is poised to reap the rewards of heavy investment in
its network, its chief executive told Reuters, forecasting that
data services will account for more than half its consumer
revenue within two years.

Conventional call and text revenues have slumped globally as
more users switch to Internet-based calls and instant messaging
applications such as Skype and Whatsapp, prompting Nawras to
invest in improving the speed, capacity and coverage of its
fixed and mobile networks to meet higher demand for data.

Sep 23, 2014

Security, rival operators delay mobile newcomers’ entry to Saudi

DUBAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) – State security requirements and a
lack of cooperation from Saudi Arabia’s existing telecom
operators have delayed the launch of two new mobile companies
until later this year, their chief executives said.

The national telecom regulator, trying to increase
competition, instructed the kingdom’s three mobile operators to
each host a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), announcing
winning bidders as long ago as June 2013.

Sep 22, 2014

Dubai housing costs soar to Manhattan peaks, forcing moves to outskirts

DUBAI, Sept 22 (Reuters) – An economic rebound has
catapulted house prices and rents in Dubai to Manhattan-like
peaks, the Gulf emirate’s top property website says, forcing
increasing numbers of residents to move to its cheaper outskirts
or even to consider returning home abroad.

Rents fell 1 percent in the third quarter after 10 straight
quarters of price rises, property consultants CBRE reported this
week. But the sustained cost of living surge has driven hundreds
of families to relocate to smaller homes on the fringes of the
opulent, highrise urban canyon that soars out of empty desert.

Sep 22, 2014

Zain Sudan hikes wages as inflation bites; targets more data

DUBAI, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Zain Sudan, the country’s No.1
telecoms operator by subscribers, has raised employee wages by
about 15 percent to mitigate rampant inflation in the country,
the firm’s chief executive told Reuters on Monday.

Sudan’s annual inflation was 46.4 percent in August.
Inflation has surged following South Sudan’s succession in 2011
that deprived Khartoum of three-quarters of its oil output and
main source of foreign currency, which it needs to support its
currency and pay for food and other imports.

Sep 16, 2014

Davis Cup to remain annual event: ITF chief

DUBAI (Reuters) – The Davis Cup will remain an annual tournament despite persistent complaints from some players that it over-burdens an already-crowded schedule, the head of the sport’s governing body said on Tuesday.

Roger Federer was roared on by a capacity 18,000 crowd on Sunday as he helped Switzerland beat Italy to reach the final of the top team event in men’s tennis for the first time since 1992.

Sep 16, 2014

Tennis-Davis Cup to remain annual event -ITF chief

DUBAI, Sept 16 (Reuters) – The Davis Cup will remain an annual tournament despite persistent complaints from some players that it over-burdens an already-crowded schedule, the head of the sport’s governing body said on Tuesday.

Roger Federer was roared on by a capacity 18,000 crowd on Sunday as he helped Switzerland beat Italy to reach the final of the top team event in men’s tennis for the first time since 1992.

Sep 15, 2014

Soccer-Gulf heavyweights clash for place in ACL final

DUBAI, Sept 15 (Reuters) – The Gulf’s deadliest striker comes up against one of its most miserly defences when Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal host Emirati club Al Ain in the first leg of their Asian Champions League semi-final in Riyadh on Tuesday.

A sell-out crowd of 67,000 is expected at King Fahd Stadium for a match that will help decide who plays South Korea’s FC Seoul or Australia’s Western Sydney Wanderers in a two-legged final starting next month.