Saudi Arabia entered 2018 on a positive note with the government announcement of its largest financial budget ever which will support the country’s expansion and diversification plans as part of its Vision 2030 program. Generally speaking; the strategy will implement changes relating to improving the kingdom’s economy through increases in taxes and fuel prices as well as encouraging investment and diversification away from its reliance on oil. It will also support the use of digital technologies for such uses as cloud computing and e-commerce as well as encouraging ICT development, including investments in broadband infrastructure.
Broadband is widely available in Saudi Arabia via ADSL, fibre, and wireless. In 2018 ADSL subscriptions still account for the largest proportion of fixed broadband subscriptions.
Internet penetration in Saudi Arabia has reached over 76%, well above the average for the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is committed to providing Internet services to its deprived rural areas and a special Universal Services project was established in 2007. The program is now over three quarters completed with thousands of localities provided access where it was not considered commercially viable for operators to do so.
The mobile operators have faced recent changes and challenges with the introduction of the biometric fingerprint law which saw subscriber numbers drop, as well as a shift away from pre-paid accounts.
A major competitive shake-up for the Saudi telecoms sector also began in late 2016 when the Saudi government announced plans to award unified licenses to Zain Saudi Arabia and Mobily, which would allow the operators to offer fixed line telephony and Internet services. In the past only STC was permitted to do so. In 2018 Go Telecom’s request for the unified license was rejected however.
Further increasing competition in the mobile market was the recent lifting of OTT VoIP and messaging services bans, allowing providers such as Skype, Viber, Whatsapp and so forth to begin operations again.
This valuable report provides analyses, information, industry statistics and insights in the major players in Saudi Arabia’s telecoms sector. It also includes BuddeComm’s “Middle East Telecoms Maturity Index”, which is an index (on a scale between 0 and 100) that measures and ranks the relative maturity of the telecoms industry in 11 countries in the Middle East.
Saudi Telecom Company (STC)/Bravo, Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)/Bayn Consortium, GO Telecom/Etihad Atheeb, Mobily/Ettihad Etisalat/Bayanat Al-Oula, Zain KSA, Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia, Arabsat.
Companies (Major Players)
Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Regulations & Government Policies
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Number of pages 55
Last updated 25 May 2018
Analyst: Kylie Wansink
Paul has been a relentless advocate and tireless activist for making the world a more connected place.
His passion for broadband and his firm belief in its transformational impact on societies across the globe is unrivalled.
I am honoured to call Paul a friend and I trust he will keep up the fight for better broadband and better access to broadband for all people, wherever they live and whatever their background, into the future.
Senator Stephen Conroy, former Communications Minister and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
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