Saudi Arabia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Fibre broadband services are to be extended in Saudi Arabia

Fibre broadband services offered in Saudi Arabia will be extended after an infrastructure sharing agreement was established in 2019; allowing Zain Saudi Arabia to utilise the infrastructure of Saudi Telecom Company (STC). Broadband is widely available in Saudi Arabia via DSL, fibre, and wireless and Saudi Arabia is considered a regional leader in terms of its fibre-based broadband deployment.

In 2019 DSL subscriptions continue to decline as consumers switch to mobile broadband or fibre broadband services. Subscriptions to DSL have now dropped below 1 million for the first time in more than a decade.

Mobile penetration is high in Saudi Arabia and the market is heavily saturated. This offers great potential for mobile commerce due to the uptake of mobile broadband services and adoption of smart phones. Mobile broadband subscriptions may pass 100% penetration in 2019.

While the introduction of a biometric fingerprint mobile identification system initially impacted upon mobile subscription growth in Saudi Arabia; there is evidence in 2019 that growth is now rebounding with mobile subscriptions demonstrating growth again.

5G is firmly on the agenda for Saudi Arabia with the regulator awarding new spectrum for 4G/5G use in early 2019. STC, Zain Saudi Arabia and Mobily have all developed various partnerships with solution providers in order to improve, test and prepare their networks for 5G.

This valuable report provides analyses, information, industry statistics and insights in the major players in Saudi Arabia’s progressive telecoms sector.

Recent developments:

  • Competition in the fixed market may increase in Saudi Arabia with Universal Licenses having been awarded to some mobile operators.
  • Saudi Arabia is expected to be one of the key growth markets for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Middle East.
  • In 2019 Saudi Arabia is trialling blockchain technology.
  • The finger-printing regulation for all mobile subscribers initially impacted upon the mobile sector in terms of both subscribers and revenue.
  • Saudi Arabia is implementing strategies as part of its goals outlined for its 2020 National Transformation Plan as well as the Vision 2030 program.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Integrated Telecom Company (ITC), GO Telecom/Etihad Atheeb, Mobily/Ettihad Etisalat/Bayanat Al-Oula, Zain KSA, Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia, Arabsat.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

    • Country overview
  • Telecommunications market

    • Market overview
    • Market analysis
      • Universal Licenses
      • Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030
  • Regulatory environment

    • Historic overview
    • Regulatory authority
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
    • Data service provider licences
    • Fixed-line licences
    • New satellite broadband license
    • Interconnect and access
    • Number Portability (NP)
    • Universal service
  • Fixed network operators in Saudi Arabia

    • Saudi Telecom Company (STC)
    • Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)
    • GO Telecom (Etihad Atheeb)
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
      • Alternative operators’ infrastructure
    • International infrastructure (satellite, submarine)
      • Terrestrial cable networks
      • Submarine cable networks
      • Satellite networks
    • Data centres, cloud computing
    • Smart infrastructure
      • M2M/IoT/Big Data
      • Blockchain
      • Artificial Intelligence
      • Smart grids
      • Smart cities
  • Broadband access market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
    • Internet access
    • Censorship
    • Broadband statistics
    • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
      • STC
      • GO Telecom
      • Mobily
    • Other fixed broadband services
      • WiFi
  • Digital economy

    • Videostreaming
  • Mobile communications

    • Market overview
    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
      • General statistics
      • Mobile voice
      • Mobile data
    • Mobile broadband statistics
    • Regulatory issues
      • Award of second GSM mobile licence
      • iDEN contract awarded
      • Award of Third Generation (3G) licences
      • Award of third mobile licence
      • Mobile license extensions 2016
      • Roaming
      • MTRs
      • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • Fingerprinting law
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • GSM, 3G
      • LTE, LTE-A
      • Satellite mobile
      • 5G
    • Major mobile operators
      • Saudi Telecom Company (STC)
      • Mobily (Etihad Etisalat)
      • Zain KSA
    • Mobile content and applications
      • M-banking and m-payments
  • Related Reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top-level country statistics and regulatory authorities – Saudi Arabia – 2019
  • Table 2 – Saudi Arabia – GDP and inflation – 2012 – 2019
  • Table 3 – Saudi Arabia – mobile, fixed-line and total telecoms revenue of service providers – 2001 – 2016
  • Table 4 – Fixed telephone teledensity and mobile subscriber penetration – 2012 – 2019
  • Table 5 – STC Group revenue and profit – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 6 – Saudi Arabia - fixed telephone teledensity – 2012 – 2019
  • Table 7 – Saudi Arabia - fixed lines in service - 1995 – 2019
  • Table 8 – Saudi Arabia – Historical - International Internet bandwidth – 2010 – 2016
  • Table 9 – Saudi Arabia - fixed and mobile Internet traffic (exabytes) – 2014 – 2017
  • Table 10 – Saudi Arabia - Internet users and user penetration – 2005 – 2019
  • Table 11 – Saudi Arabia - Fixed broadband subscriptions – technologies and penetration – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 12 – Saudi Arabia – household PC penetration – 2002 – 2017
  • Table 13 – Saudi Arabia - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 – 2014
  • Table 14 – Saudi Arabia - mobile subscribers and penetration – 2015 – 2019
  • Table 15 – Saudi Arabia - major mobile operators’ market share – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 16 – Saudi Arabia – prepaid subscribers – 2002 – Q3 2018
  • Table 17 – Saudi Arabia - mobile broadband subscriptions – technologies and penetration – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 18 – Mobily revenue and mobile subscribers – 2006 – 1H 2018
  • Table 19 – Zain KSA customers and revenue – 2015 – 9M 2018

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Saudi Arabia – major mobile operators market share - 2018

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Historical – Bravo acquisition

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