RIYADH Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) 7020.SE, the No.2 Saudi mobile phone operator, plans to award new contracts to Nokia Siemens (NOK1V.HE)(SIEGn.DE) and China's Huawei HWT.UL to expand its 3.5G and 3.75G networks, a company executive said.
"The contracts are to cover both the capacity and the reach of our 3.5G and 3.75G networks," Humoud al-Ghobaini, vice-president of corporate communications told the Reuters Middle East Investment Summit in Riyadh.
He declined to disclose the value of the two deals.
Last week, Mobily granted mobile network gear maker Ericsson (ERICb.ST) a $160 million contract to expand the data business, which it bets on to drive profit growth.
Mobily claims its high-speed packet access (HSPA) network is the busiest on the planet, with 800,000 active subscribers consuming more than 1 gigabyte of data a month and contributing to an overall mobile data exchange of 42 terabytes a day.
With voice services penetration well above 100 percent, Mobily will focus on selling more data services to both corporate customers and households to maintain high profit growth.
Mobily, an affiliate of Emirates Telecommunications Co ETEL.AD, made a record 807 million riyals ($215.2 million) in the three months to September 30.
With mobile voice services already reaching more than 100 percent of the kingdom's population, data presents Mobily with the strongest growth potential.
Mobily competes with Saudi Telecom Co (STC) 7010.SE, the Arab's world biggest mobile firm by market value, and Zain Saudia Arabia 7030.SE.
(Reporting by Riyadh newsroom; Editing by Karen Foster)