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Nokia Siemens Networks signed a strategic partnership agreement with Al Sarya Telecommunications Company and Belal Company, both of Saudi Arabia (members of Ghazzawi Group of Companies) to establish Nokia Siemens Networks al Saudia Ltd as a joint-venture company.

The aim is to develop local market opportunities in the telecommunication services sector by enabling operators to optimize their networks.

Commentating on the launch of the JV, Dr Talal Al-Ghazzawi, Chairman of Nokia Siemens Networks al Saudia Ltd said: "Creating this joint venture is an important step in our strategy to further grow our business in Saudi Arabia. We bring in the local knowledge and infrastructure whilst Nokia Siemens Networks brings in their scalability, global delivery model and network services expertise."

"This is a major milestone for Nokia Siemens Networks as it looks to expand its footprint within Saudi Arabia where it has been working with all major operators. This strategic partnership should allow us to pursue new directions such as the possibility of offering multi-vendor services and will unlock fresh revenue streams."

"This is a unique opportunity at a time when the Saudi telecom sector continuous to grow at an impressive pace. Although the telephony penetration rate is already one of the highest in the Middle East region, double digit growth in mobile subscriptions is projected for the coming two years," Al-Ghazzawi added.

Nokia Siemens Networks has been present in Saudi Arabia since 1976 and currently employs 650 people, of which 20 per cent are made of up of local Saudi. In 2006, it started a training program for Saudi university graduates as part of a knowledge transfer program to help the new generation acquire expertise in the latest telecom technology.

Nokia Siemens Networks enters Saudi joint-venture