The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia now has seven licensed mobile telecom companies after the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) awarded licenses to two new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).
Integrated Telecom Mobile Company (ITC Mobile) and Future Networks Communications were granted licenses after winning a competition announced by CITC in February 2021. Back in 2014, Virgin Mobile KSA and Etihad Jawraa have also received MVNO licenses from the regulating body. The importance of having an MVNO license relates to the eligibility of a telco to provide users with voice calls, internet, SMS, voicemail, media services, and more, without owning any towers or frequencies.
Following the entry of two additional MVNOs in the market, Saudi Arabia’s ICT sector continuously reflects a level of competitiveness. Thanks to its robust infrastructure, high user penetration, and clear strategy, the GCC country remains to have attractive advantages for both local and international investors.
During the licensing ceremony, H.E. Mohammed Al Tamimi, governor of CITC, said, “At CITC, we aim to enhance the level of competitiveness in the sector, and improve user experience, by facilitating additional service providers." Al Tamimi also highlighted that telecom service providers are important partners in transforming the Kingdom into a digital society. Being a key component for achieving Vision 2030, they can contribute to the innovation of telecom, mobile data, and internet services.
From a general perspective, the Saudi telecommunications sector looks promising and is anticipated to contribute 5.3% to the national GDP. In 2020, its market size reached SAR 69 billion, capital investments of telecom service providers amounted to SAR 17.6 billion, and mobile telecom services penetration reached 135.5%.