Saudi Arabian cellco Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Export Development Canada (EDC) have signed a long-term vendor financing agreement for a loan worth SAR750 million (USD200 million), with no corporate guarantee. According to a joint press release published on the Saudi Stock Exchange’s (Tadawul’s) website, Mobily will use the Sharia-compliant financing to acquire telecoms equipment from Paris-based vendor Alcatel-Lucent, ahead of a planned upgrade. The loan has a tenure of ten and a half years and a utilisation period of two years; the mandated lead arrangers are Credit Agricole, Societe Generale and the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi. The loan will be repaid in 17 semi-annual equal instalments, with a fixed rate of 2.52% per annum, alongside a 3% upfront premium.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in May 2014 Mobily and Alca-Lu announced that they were deploying a virtualised radio access network (RAN). Under the contract, Alca-Lu will deliver its 9771 Wireless Cloud Element Radio Network Controller (WCE RNC) to improve Mobily’s service performance, reliability, scale and operational efficiency.