Zain to pay Mobily $58m in roaming dispute

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Arbitrator decides for Mobily in Saudi Arabian mobile dispute but awards only 10% of the compensation requested

Zain is to pay $58 million to its rival operator in Saudi Arabia, Mobily, after a dispute about roaming charges.

But the sum – awarded after arbitration – is just one tenth of the sum that Mobily, owned by Abu Dhabi company Etisalat, originally claimed from Kuwait-owned Zain.

Zain told Saudi Arabian media that the judgement is not enforceable for 60 days and that it does have the right to appeal against the decision.

The dispute dates back eight years to an agreement that Mobily should offer site-sharing and internal roaming to Zain. In December 2014 Mobily told Reuters that it was owned 2.2 billion Saudi riyals – equivalent to $586 million.

But yesterday’s decision awards Mobily just 219 million riyals, 10% of the claim. Local reports said “Zain Saudi was unlikely to launch” an appeal against the judgement.