Saudi Telecom Company (STC) Group is the incumbent telecommunications operator in Saudi Arabia with headquarters in Riyadh, and is a regional powerhouse with approximately US$13.5 billion annual revenues (2015), and listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange. STC has approximately 100,000,000 customers worldwide to whom it provides high technology knowledge-based innovative solutions with a fiber optic network spanning 137,000 kilometers across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. STC operates the largest mobile, fixed and international networks in the region covering more than 99% of the country's population and customers regionally and globally. STC Group has two regional subsidiaries and several international strategic investments. Combined with its strong financials and sound performance, STC is the most reliable partner in the region. STC is constantly investing in new technologies to provide the best in class service to customers.
We are the largest telco in the MENA region and the incumbent in Saudi Arabia with the highest ratings awarded by Moody's and S&P. STC being the key player in the region is the most dependable partner delivering voice, data, capacity and value-added services via our extensive international, regional and national fixed and mobile infrastructure. STC brand is well recognized in the MENA region and we are striving to make it globally recognized.
As the key ICT provider in the region, STC is playing a critical role as an enabler of the Saudi Vision 2030, contributing towards social development in order to build a strong and productive society via our infrastructure and services. For achieving the goals of Vision 2030, the National Transformation Plan (NTP) 2020 launched, towards which STC being an integral part of the KSA services infrastructure is contributing jobs, enabling private entities to access a global knowledge base, developing new content and leading the digital transformation aspects.
Our mission is to be the leader in the region, contributing to economic growth and technological advancement. Our strategy is to lead the digital transformation wave in the region via STC's extensive global infrastructure and to grow such transformational capabilities via strategic investments and partnerships. STC is at the forefront of delivering best of the breed services nationally, regionally and globally. We offer diverse services through our STC cloud, international connectivity, diverse and redundant capacity, and extensive internet, voice, VoIP, content infrastructure.
KSA's strategic location, in the GCC region and neighboring countries, lends itself well towards the utilization of STC wholesale data-related facilities and infrastructure, contributing to the economic growth of the region. Our national and border crossing network covers all area of the Kingdom and extends in a diversified and redundant manner to all neighboring countries including UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Yemen, Iraq and Oman. STC's internet and data businesses are growing with the demand growth in KSA as well as across the region primarily driven by increased usage of innovative internet and data applications due to deeper penetration of fixed/mobile broadband access and deployment of 4G/LTE infrastructure.
In addition, by utilizing STC's newly deployed SDN/orchestration capabilities, we are efficiently and effectively addressing the market demands for internet and data services ensuring the best-in-region network services. STC has taken concerted steps to increase focus on the customer via automated customer service/experience capabilities and by offering high quality innovative services at competitive prices. STC's infrastructure and network expansion translates into more than doubling of deployed capacity YoY, which is now in the range of several terabits. STC is ranked #1 in the MENA region (and among top 13 globally) in voice/VoIP & data business and growing at a high rate, supplemented by the number of visitors to the two holy sites which are estimated at a million visitors per month. During the two holy months of Ramadan and Hajj, that reaches 5 million visitors.
STC Wholesale's newly created customer-focused lines of business namely global services (GS), carrier services (CS) and national wholesale (NW) will provide new and innovative services and solutions geared towards customers' needs and requirements. On the national wholesale (NW) side under the open access initiative, we are activating STC infrastructure, providing customers with innovative services and end-to-end solutions options. Our GS business is providing innovative services and solutions such as cloud-based hosting, PaaS, SaaS, to our carrier, enterprise and content provider regional/global customers. The CS business supported by new innovative voice services and solutions including VoLTE hubs, 4G/data international roaming, and HD Voice/OTT/multimedia.
Leveraging STC's extensive infrastructure and investments, STC Wholesale has architected the best of the breed global network. STC Wholesale services are provided over extensive infrastructure including Tier III/IV datacenters, several latest multi-terabit capacity submarine cable systems including SMW4, SMW5, IMEWE, EIG, GBI, etc. and OTN-based fully redundant and diverse terrestrial network. STC network is based on self-healing national backhaul and border crossing terrestrial fiber optics links represent the most resilient, reliable and cost effective connectivity in the region.
STC Wholesale's ultra-high capacity internet, voice and capacity gateways serve customers in Saudi Arabia, including millions of pilgrims visiting holy sites in Mecca and Madina and all of GCC and regional countries.
STC Wholesale's network architecture provides automatic protection, redundancy and diversity for the mitigation of multiple failures scenarios where the traffic is switched/rerouted upon failure to redundant optical networks/cables. STC internet gateways are connected via multiple 100G links and ultra-high capacity nodes to the major IXPs on the Eastern side like in Mumbai, Chennai, Singapore and Hong Kong to the western side in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. All the services are complemented by latest OSS/BSS and Wholesale's services management and customer care centers (with an 800 toll free number) to cater to the 24x7x365 operation. STC Wholesale's ongoing projects to upgrade networks with latest technologies such as OTN, MEF compliant carrier ethernet, 80x100G capacity long haul DWDM systems and the expansion of the terrestrial and submarine capacity by several multiples, puts us in the forefront of the global carrier scene.
Recent STC Wholesale accomplishments include:
2013 Established first MVNO in the KSA together with Virgin Mobile MEA
2014 New Tier IV and Tier III certified DCs implemented across the KSA
2014 Voice hubbing business upgraded to handle higher capacities globally
2015 International roaming business upgraded to handle VoLTE and VAS
2015 Deployed, activated new global submarine optical cable system SEA-ME-WE 5
2016 First in MENA region: 5G trial, doubling of 4G capacity with top tier vendors
2016 Voice business maintains overall revenue growth rate of 10-15% YoY
2016 Activation of ultra-high capacity cross-border mesh OTN transport network
2016 Internet gateway utilization crosses 2 Tb mark