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STC moves to improve services in Saudi Arabia

Fixed line and mobile network expansions will add much-needed capacity in the Kingdom. Lower tariffs should stimulate demand for services.

Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) is beginning to behave like a private company preparing for competition.

The organisation is not only stepping-up efforts to improve services, it is also putting some marketing muscle behind its plans in an effort to strengthen public support.

In the past week, STC has slashed mobile phone tariffs by up to 67%, has removed the re-connection fee for mobile phones that have been disconnected, and re-introduced the system that allowed customers to pay large bills with several installments.

The company has also announced aggressive expansion plans. Ericsson has won a bid to add 1.1 million lines to Saudi Arabia’s mobile phone network, at a cost of SR1.13 billion. At the same time, a deal to install 600,000 fixed lines, is currently being fought for by several global telecom firms. Tenders for the project must be in by November 4 with the project expected to kick-off early next year.

“It’s encouraging to see this level of activity from STC. The mobile side of the business in particular is demonstrating that it recognizes the need for speed of thought and speed of execution in this new economy,” said Jon Tullett, editor of CommsMEA magazine.

“The fact that STC is publicly announcing these new initiatives is just as encouraging. It is no longer good enough to distance yourself from your customers. You have to answer their concerns and deliver on promises,” he added.

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