By Gavin Gibbon
Companies awarded with a licence will gain access to a market of more than 43.8 million mobile subscribers
Saudi Arabia's telecoms regulator is seeking applications for the issuing of licences to foreign mobile virtual network operators (MVNO).
The Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has released a request for application (RFA) to issue MVNOs with licences
Until recently, Saudi Telecommunications Company, Etihad Etisalat Company (Mobily) and Mobile Telecommunications Company Saudi Arabia (Zain) were the only mobile telecommunications operators in the kingdom. The government has since offered MVNOs licences to Virgin, Etihad Jawraa and Lebara.
Licensing of MVNOs is a key pillar in the five-year strategy established by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to accelerate the ICT sector’s growth by 50 percent and elevate its contribution to GDP by $13.3bn.
Dr. Mohammed Al-Tamimi, Governor of the CITC, said: “While new licences will enhance prospects for investment in the sector, it is also a concrete demonstration of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to welcoming innovative companies to realise the kingdom’s commercial opportunities.”
The ICT sector in Saudi Arabia, which was valued at $28.7bn in 2019, is forecasted to enjoy exponential growth in the years to come thanks to a young and tech-savvy population, 58 percent of whom are under the age of 30.
Companies awarded with a licence will gain access to a market of more than 43.8 million mobile subscribers, with a mobile penetration rate of 129 percent of the total population. Saudi Arabia also has one of the highest social media penetration rate worldwide.