January 7, 2008 / 9:09 AM / 10 years ago

Nokia Siemens wins $935 million Saudi Arabia deal

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Nokia Siemens Networks NSN.UL said on Monday it had won an order worth $935 million from Kuwait telecom operator Zain (ZAIN.KW) to build second- and third-generation mobile networks in Saudi Arabia.

Nokia Siemens Networks, a 50-50 joint venture between the world’s largest cellphone maker Nokia NOK1V.HE and Germany’s Siemens (SIEGn.DE), said the deal also includes a managed services contract for five years.

“It’s a very sizeable deal. Very good news indeed for Nokia,” said eQ analyst Jari Honko.

Shares in Nokia were up 0.36 percent at 24.76 euros by 0954 GMT, outperforming the DJ Stoxx European technology index .SX8P which was around 1.4 percent weaker.

Telecom equipment makers, like Nokia Siemens and Ericsson (ERICb.ST), are suffering as operators in Western countries curb investment and competition for large deals in emerging countries intensifies.

This has pushed prices so low that vendors have started to walk away from some deals.

Zain, Kuwait’s biggest mobile operator, made the highest bid for Saudi Arabia’s third mobile license last year, paying $6.1 billion as part of its expansion in the Middle East.

    “This customer has traditionally been co-operating with Ericsson. It might be that in mobile network Ericsson will get its share from the deal,” said Handelsbanken analyst Karri Rinta.

    Nokia Siemens said it would be the sole supplier for the core network, but other vendors could deliver radio network technology.

    “Nokia was rather late going into these, it seems that NSN is now getting a firmer position there,” Rinta said.

    Shares in Ericsson fell after the news and were 2.5 percent lower at 13.82 crowns in Stockholm.

    Reporting by Tarmo Virki in Helsinki; additional reporting by Agnieszka Flak and Terhi Kinnunen in Helsinki and Ulf Laessing in Kuwait; editing by Sue Thomas

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