The mobile sector has become an important component of Saudi Arabia’s telecom industry and contributes around 75% to overall telecoms revenues. The popularity of mobile technology is also driving up Internet usage as Saudi Arabia has a very high mobile phone penetration coupled with a high ownership of smart phones. This has led to a growth in Internet usage in recent years and a rising demand on mobile broadband services.
However, the growth of the mobile sector recently faltered due primarily to a regulatory change. In order to tighten control and security of mobile phone usage and ownership; in early 2016 the Saudi Ministry of Interior began implementing its biometric fingerprinting law. The law was originally passed in September 2015 and requires consumers to supply their fingerprint when purchasing a SIM card, with the information being shared with the National Information Centre. The law resulted in a marked decline in mobile subscribers in 2016, including mobile broadband subscriptions.
Broadband penetration is growing strongly in Saudi Arabia. Broadband is available via ADSL, fibre, and wireless. In 2017 ADSL subscriptions still account for the largest proportion of fixed broadband subscriptions.
Looking at the larger picture; Saudi Arabia has its sights firmly set upon improving its economic strength and diversifying away from its reliance on oil. The government has developed the “Saudi Arabia Vision 2030” program which provides the country with a roadmap of goals and objectives for the future improvement of Saudi Arabia. Supporting the use of digital technologies such as cloud computing and encouraging ICT development feature heavily in Saudi Arabia’s vision for the future.
|Subscribers to telecoms services (million): (e)|
Saudi Telecom Company (STC)/Bravo, Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)/Bayn Consortium, GO Telecom/Etihad Atheeb, Mobily/Ettihad Etisalat/Bayanat Al-Oula, Zain KSA, Arabsat, ART, Orbit, Rotana, Lebara KSA/Etihad Jawraa, Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (Virgin Mobile MEA), Axiom Telecom,VIVA, Saudi Electricity Company (SEC).
Companies (Major Players)
Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Regulations & Government Policies
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Number of pages 53
Last updated 6 Mar 2017
Analyst: Kylie Wansink
As you know, I have resigned from the Labor Ministry and have decided not to re-contest the seat of Charlton at the next election – both for personal reasons.
Before leaving Parliament, I particularly wish to record my thanks to you for your generous and constructive participation in the deliberations that generated significant economic policy reforms for the Australian community. Continuous economic transformation is a key challenge that faces all Governments.
The development of sound public policy should always be contestable. Ultimately, good and equitable outcomes are not concessions to any particular interest group, but the careful balancing of interests to create the greatest possible benefit for the nation. You have contributed to that, and I sincerely thank you for it.
Greg Combet, Former Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation
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