Saudi to issue new fixed and mobile licences before year-end
The CITC is set to publish the licensing schedule in the third quarter of this year and evaluate, select and award the new licences by the end of the fourth quarter.
Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has issued a statement describing its plans to grant a new mobile and a new fixed line licence by the end of this year. The new licences will break the monopoly of Saudi Telecom (STC) on landline phone services and add at least a third mobile phone operator to the market, which is currently serviced by STC’s Al Jawal service and Etisalat’s Mobily.
The CITC is set to publish the licensing schedule in the third quarter of this year and evaluate, select and award the new licences by the end of the fourth quarter. Earlier comments attributed to the head of the CITC, Mohammed Al Suwaiyel suggested that declining international interest in landline services could hurt Saudi plans to issue a second fixed licence and that a third mobile licence would be issued by September - possibly more than one.
Saudi Arabia’s willingness to foster competition and innovation is an example to be held up across the region, and its ascension to the World Trade Organisation late last year should only drive the momentum further.