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

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Last updated: 16 Aug 2021 Update History

Report Pages: 130

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Saudi focus on Vision 2030 program reaping rewards

Saudi Arabia’s telecom and ICT sectors continue to benefit from the range of programs aimed at diversifying the economy away from a dependence on oil, and establishing a wider digital transformation over the next decade. An essential element of this has been the widening reach of 5G networks, which by mid-2021 reached about half of the population and the majority of cities.

The competitive mobile sector is serviced by Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Mobily, and Zain KSA, as also four licensed MVNOs. The MNOs have focussed investment on upgrading LTE infrastructure and further developing 5G. This in part is aimed at generating additional revenue from mobile data services, and also to their contribution to the Vision 2030 program.

The ongoing pandemic has resulted in more people working and schooling from home during periods of restricted travel. This has stimulated growth in mobile data traffic, while the government has encouraged non-cash transactions and so helped develop the vast e-commerce market.

While Saudi Arabia’s fixed broadband penetration remains relatively low, there has been a concentration of fibre infrastructure and the Kingdom has developed one of the fastest services in the region.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains all around the world. During this time, the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device and ICT equipment production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to source necessary equipment or manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may also be postponed or slowed down in some countries. On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services is likely to be impacted by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. In contrast, the demand for mobile and broadband services is expected to rise, as more citizens will require online services for work, entertainment, education, tele-health, and social purposes.

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

Key developments:

  • Zain KSA extends 5G coverage to 51 cities;
  • Saudi Arabia climbs in the Digital Infrastructure Index 2020 league table;
  • Mobily cancels scheme to merge its mobile towers with those of Zain KSA;
  • Regulator awards two more MVNO licenses;
  • Open network access rules come into force, helping develop the fibre broadband sector;
  • Two additional cable systems to be added to the Blue-Raman cable system;
  • MCIT expecting to raise $18 billion for data centre expansion project by 2030;
  • Saudi Arabia continues implementing strategies as part of its the Vision 2030 program;
  • Report update includes telcos’ financial and operating data to Q2 2021, regulator’s market data updates, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

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

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