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Sun 7 Jan 2018 10:51 AM

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Investigation launched into Saudi telecom prices as rates rise

Prices for data services increased by as much as 50% on January 1

Investigation launched into Saudi telecom prices as rates rise
Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has launched an investigation into the sudden spike in prices for data services

The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has launched an investigation into the sudden spike in prices for data services.

The new rates, which came into effect on January 1 as part of the nation’s imposition of VAT, were as much as 50 percent higher than 2017, creating a wave of complaints from users.

“The CITC is launching an urgent investigation in light of complaints raised by users about the possibility of non-competitive practices and the monopoly in price fixing by some service providers,” Adel Abu Haimed, CITC spokesman, said in a statement to Arab News.

“The CITC affirms that in regulating the telecommunications market, it intervenes in cases of price-fixing schemes coordinated by service providers at a given time. Any infringing practices will be dealt promptly and strictly.”

Both Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) increased the prices of their data packs and withdrew data cards from sale, according to reports from Arabic newspaper Makkah, which prompted accusations of  monopolistic pricing that lacked any accompanying justification.

For a 300 gigabyte pack, STC now charges SR200 for three months and Mobily SR450, while you can buy a 200 gigabyte pack on Zain for SR299.

Mobile data usage from mobile devices is set to quadruple in size between before 2021 due to the rising popularity of 4K content.

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