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Saudi Arabia - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


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Prevalent broadband and a developing digital economy

Saudi Arabia’s market continues to grow at a steady pace, with mobile continuing to underpin domestic market growth as the fixed line market languishes. Fixed line incumbent operator STC is focusing on international expansion, broadband, financial performance and customer experience as part of its 2011 - 2013 strategy.

Broadband services are available via ADSL, fibre and wireless. Infrastructure-based competition in the FttX market is increasing as STC competes against deployments by alternative fixed line operator Etihad Atheeb and mobile network operator Mobily, with end users able to access speeds of up to 1Gb/s.

Faster speeds and increasingly affordable broadband access has fostered development of a digital economy, encompassing government services (e-government), e-health, e-education and e-commerce.

The Ministry of Health has devised a 10 year e-health strategy with a road map of specific projects to fulfil strategic objectives. E-education holds much promise given Saudi Arabia’s young population and its desire to diversify and develop a knowledge-based economy. From its 2013 budget the government allocated SR204 billion to education, 25% of its entire budget and the single largest spending item. E-commerce holds much promise given demographic and economic factors but faces the challenges of access to payment gateways, lack of clear regulations, cultural, trust and privacy issues.

Digital media development in Saudi Arabia is underpinned by high broadband penetration, a young population and cultural factors such as the lack of movie theatres. Nearly half all estimated Internet users watch online videos daily.

Four mobile network operators and availability of mobile number portability underpins intense mobile competition. All three GSM/WCDMA based operators have launched LTE networks and have shifted focus towards expanding coverage and improving the quality of services. Mobile Internet and broadband subscription levels indicate widespread acceptance, with over a third of the population subscribing to such services.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors.

Subjects include:

Market and industry analyses,
trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Infrastructure;
Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU
Internet, IPTV;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
Convergence and digital media;
Broadband subscriber forecasts to 2023;


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Saudi Arabia’s telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Saudi Arabia
4.3.1 Data service provider licences
4.3.2 New fixed-line licences
4.4 Privatisation
4.5 Interconnect and access
4.6 Number Portability (NP)
4.7 Universal service
5. Fixed network operators in Saudi Arabia
5.1 Saudi Telecom Company (STC)
5.1.1 Oger Telecom
5.1.2 Cyberia Holdings
5.2 Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)
5.3 Etihad Atheeb Telecommunications Company (GO)
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.1.1 Alternative operators’ infrastructure
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
6.2.2 Arabsat
7. Telecoms & IT
8. Broadband access market
8.1 Overview
8.1.1 Censorship
8.1.2 Broadband statistics
8.2 Broadband forecasts
8.2.1 Scenario 1 – higher growth
8.2.2 Scenario 2 – lower growth
8.3 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
8.4 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH)
8.5 Broadband powerline (BPL)
8.6 Wireless broadband
8.6.1 WiFi
8.6.2 WiMAX
8.6.3 Internet via satellite
9. Digital Economy/Digital media
9.1 Services
9.1.1 E-government
9.1.2 E-health
9.1.3 E-education
9.1.4 E-commerce
9.2 Smart cities/smart communities
9.2.1 Smart grids
9.3 Digital media
9.3.1 Overview
9.3.2 Social media
10. Digital Broadcasting
10.1 Overview of broadcasting market
10.2 Broadband TV (IPTV)
10.3 MBC/Al Arabiya
10.4 Satellite-based digital Pay TV
10.4.1 ART
10.4.2 OSN Orbit Showtime
10.4.3 Rotana Media Group
11. Mobile communications
11.1 Overview of Saudi Arabia’s mobile market
11.1.1 Mobile statistics
11.2 Regulatory issues
11.2.1 Award of second GSM mobile licence
11.2.2 iDEN contract awarded
11.2.3 Award of Third Generation (3G) licences
11.2.4 Award of third mobile licence
11.2.5 Roaming
11.2.6 Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)
11.3 Mobile technologies
11.3.1 Analogue
11.3.2 Digital
11.3.3 3G/HSPA
11.3.4 LTE/4G
11.4 Major mobile operators
11.4.1 Saudi Telecom Company (STC)/Jawal
11.4.2 Ettihad Etisalat (Mobily)
11.4.3 Public Telecommunications Company (Bravo)
11.4.4 Zain Saudi Arabia
11.5 Mobile voice services
11.5.1 Prepaid
11.5.2 Satellite mobile
11.6 Mobile broadband
11.7 Mobile content and applications
11.7.1 STC
11.7.2 Mobily
11.7.3 Zain
11.7.4 Bravo
12. Related reports
Table 1 – Country statistics Saudi Arabia – 2012
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2012
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Fixed broadband statistics – 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2012
Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
Table 7 – GDP growth and inflation – 2005 - 2013
Table 8 – Mobile, fixed-line and total telecommunications services revenue – 2001 - 2011
Table 9 – STC Group revenue and profit – 2005 – 2012
Table 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1996 – 2013
Table 11 – International Internet bandwidth – 2005 - 2011
Table 12 – IT market revenue – 2006 - 2015
Table 13 – Internet users and penetration estimates – 1995 - 2013
Table 14 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2001 - 2013
Table 15 – Household PC penetration – 2002 - 2013
Table 16 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2013, 2018; 2023
Table 17 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower growth scenario – 2013, 2018; 2023
Table 18 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 1995 - 2013
Table 19 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – September 2012
Table 20 – Major mobile operators’ market shares – 2008 - 2012
Table 21 – Mobily revenue and profit – 2006 - 2012
Table 22 – Bravo financial data – 2007 - 2012
Table 23 – Bravo subscribers and ARPU – 2007 – 2012
Table 24 – Zain revenue, profit, subscribers and ARPU – 2008 – 2012
Table 25 – Zain Saudi Arabia – Active Subscribers – 2008 - 2012
Table 26 – Prepaid subscribers – 2002 - 2012
Table 27 – Zain prepaid subscribers – 2008 - 2012
Table 28 – Total Mobile Internet and Mobile broadband subscriptions – 2007 - 2013
Table 29 – Mobile Internet and Mobile broadband subscriptions – 2007 - 2013
Table 30 – Mobily mobile broadband subscribers and daily data traffic volume – 2008 - 2011
Chart 1 – Saudi Arabia fixed-line and mobile subscribers – 2000 - 2013

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