Saudi ISPs move to cut internet fees

End user broadband internet fees in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been chopped by some ISPs, and others are considering doing the same, as a result of the STC's recent bandwidth price reductions.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  May 30, 2006

End user broadband internet fees in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been chopped by some ISPs, and others are considering doing the same, as a result of the STC's recent bandwidth price reductions. Earlier this year, STC (Saudi Telecom Company) reduced the prices of the bandwidth it provides to the KACST (which in turn provides bandwidth to the Kingdom’s ISPs), and the latter has now officially passed these savings on to the country’s ISPs. Some of these ISPs have told Windows they're not planning any price changes, however others are. Windows spoke to Imad Ayoub, the CEO of Cyberia Holdings, who explained that the ISP has been quick to react by already chopping its end user prices by 15-20%. A 512Mbps Cyberia connection for example now costs 420 SAR, down from 540 previously. Awalnet however, which is arguably one of the Kingdom’s biggest ISPs, has yet to confirm when exactly its prices might come down. Abdulaziz S. Al-Helayyil, the products and marketing manager of AwalNet's Al Faisaliah Group of companies, told Windows: “Yes some ISPs did this reduction, but we didn’t yet. The problem is that we were promised this reduction last year, so we actually reduced our prices last year and have been waiting for this.” Al-Helayyil added that the KSA internet market is not as price sensitive as it was when it began, less than a decade ago. “Customers are looking for quality of service. There is some price sensitivity, but not like when DSL started,” he explained. “Now AwalNet has the highest prices, and we have lots of requests from customers to reduce these. We will reduce them further, but not like the rest. I'm not sure whether our competitors are studying their prices properly or not. We don’t know the timeframe for this reduction.”

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