Saudi Arabia to grant new network licenses to foreign operators

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Updated 16 January 2020

Saudi Arabia to grant new network licenses to foreign operators

  • There are 43.8 million mobile subscribers in Saudi Arabia

LONDON: Saudi Arabia is opening up its telecom sector to further competition with plans to award licenses to foreign mobile virtual network operators.

The Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) made the disclosure on Tuesday. It is part of a broader plan to accelerate the ICT sector’s growth by 50 percent in the Kingdom and increase its contribution to GDP by $13.3 billion.

The move will create more competition for industry incumbents Saudi Telecommunications Company, Mobily and Zain.

The government has also offered MVNO licenses to Virgin, Etihad Jawraa and Lebara.

“While new licenses will enhance prospects for investment in the sector, it is also a concrete demonstration of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to welcoming innovative companies to realize the Kingdom’s commercial opportunities,” said CITC Gov. Mohammed Al-Tamimi.

“What distinguishes the ICT sector in the Kingdom is the breadth of new opportunities we offer where cutting-edge companies can allow their creativity to flourish in a rapidly expanding market,” he said.

There are 43.8 million mobile subscribers in Saudi Arabia with a mobile penetration rate of 129 percent of the total population. 

Information technology investment in Saudi Arabia is being driven by its young and tech-savvy population, 58 percent of whom are under the age of 30.

The Kingdom also has one of the highest social media penetration rates in the world.


Emirates launches airbridge between Dubai, Lebanon emergency relief 

Updated 14 August 2020

Emirates launches airbridge between Dubai, Lebanon emergency relief 

  • Customers of Emirates will be able to donate cash or pledge their Skywards Miles to the airline for the aid
  • Emirates SkyCargo will also provide 20 percent reduction on air freight transportation charges for approved shipments

DUBAI: UAE national carrier Emirates SkyCargo plans to ramp up its freighter operations to Lebanon with 50 flights to deliver emergency relief in the wake of the Beirut port blast that killed nearly 200 people.
Customers of Emirates will be able to donate cash or pledge their Skywards Miles to the airline for the aid, state news agency WAM reported.
The Emirates Airline Foundation will coordinate shipments of urgent food, medical supplies with NGO partners to ensure donations directly help those affected on the ground.
Emirates SkyCargo will also provide 20 percent reduction on air freight transportation charges for approved shipments, underscoring its commitment to expedite emergency relief efforts to Beirut.
“Today, the world is banding together to stand in solidarity with Lebanon, providing urgent relief and immediate recovery support to those affected by this tragic disaster,” Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said. 
“Emirates supports the UAE’s ongoing humanitarian efforts to support Lebanon and is committed to bolster its global emergency response to ensure that it can support organizations which provide urgent care, shelter, food and medical support to the Lebanese people,” he added. 
Emirates said that it had dispatched several charter flights carrying food, clothing and medical supplies donated by various grassroots organizations in the UAE to Lebanon.