Saudi Telecom Co (STC) is the Arab world’s largest phone company and is intent on providing new services in its domestic market, as well as tapping opportunities in Malaysia, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Kuwait as it seeks to offset declining subscriber growth at home and competition from regional operators in the Arab world’s largest economy.
Customers are already benefitting from this competition, and STC has this year reduced its internet charges by 70 percent as it looks to increase the number of users of the service. It has also slashed its mobile phone roaming charges by as much as 63 percent in some countries, after new rules were introduced by the Kingdom’s telecoms regulator.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, in January STC won the bid for Bahrain’s third mobile phone licence, paying $230m for the privilege. The Riyadh-based company was the only bidder to place an offer on time after the regulator earlier registered four companies to submit bids.
It will compete with Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco), the largest phone company in the country, and Zain Bahrain, when it starts operations in the island nation. Over the next 10 years, the Saudi company will aim to capture 20 percent of the telecom market in Bahrain, where the penetration rate is estimated to have exceeded 100 percent among the population of one million people.