Zain Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced it has signed a network infrastructure deal with five equipment makers worth 4.5 billion riyals (€882 million).

The mobile operator said it has contracted Huawei, Nokia, NEC, Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent for a three-year turnkey project to provide it with a "state-of-the-art modern network" that will help it meet the growing demand for data.

The vendors will supply LTE and mobile broadband infrastructure, including radio access, transmission, core network, IP backbone and Internet gateway equipment, Zain said in a statement to the Saudi Stock Exchange.

The project will provide the telco with additional coverage and capacity for voice and data services. It expects to increase coverage to 96%, although it did not specify whether this is in terms of population or landmass.

"Zain will be able to capture more traffic, generate more revenues and optimise costs," as a result of the project, it said.

The firm added that it will finance the deal from its own resources.

In a separate statement Nokia Networks revealed that it has signed "a large contract" with Zain. The Finnish vendor said it will deploy its single RAN network equipment to refarm some of Zain's 2G and 3G frequencies, as well as small cells, LTE-Advanced kit, and network-monitoring tools. It will also deploy its Liquid Applications distributed cloud solution, which it says will enable Zain to offer new services that rely on real-time network data, such as augmented reality and location-based services.

"We want to reload our network infrastructure with the very latest of technologies in order to address the high demand for more interesting services. We are confident that Nokia's unique technologies such as Liquid Applications will greatly improve customer experience and position Zain KSA as a technology leader in the Saudi market," said Hassan Kabbani, CEO of Zain KSA, in Nokia's statement.