RIYADH: Saudi telecommunication firm stc has launched a new subsidiary, Center 3, linking Asia, Africa, and Europe through a regional media hub aiming to enhance the growth of the digital economy in the Kingdom.
Center 3 is a group of carrier-neutral data centers and a provider of international communication for the telecommunications sector through a submarine fiber-optic network.
The subsidiary firm was unveiled during a ceremony held in the Hilton hotel, nine months after the Center 3 MENA Hub initiative was initially announced.
“This is an initiative that is solidifying our digital offering not only to Saudi Arabia but far beyond to all of the global and digital ecosystem leveraging on being at the center of three continents,” Olayan Alwetaid, stc group CEO said.
Mohammed Alabbadi, stc group chief carrier and wholesale officer, added: “With an initial investment of $1 billion we are aiming to build the future; a future of unparalleled customer experience, carrier neutrality, and ensuring business continuity backed by a resilient and diverse network of sub-sea cables that connects Europe, Africa, and Asia."
Through the investment of $1 billion, stc aims to drive the growth of the Kingdom's economy and its gross domestic product.
“Today the real journey starts; the journey to solidify Saudi Arabia’s position at the heart of the ICT landscape in the region and the stepping stone beyond the region,” Alabbadi said.
He added: “Our vision is to create a digital community linking and hosting all stakeholders of the industry in one place — carriers, cloud, content, gaming all.”
The stc group chief carrier officer explained that the MENA HUB was inspired by the Kingdom's Vision 2030 in order to be an integral driver of connectivity between the three continents.
He added: “Today we are very proud to see stc deliver on its mission with an aim to help accelerate and drive these results even further.”
During the ceremony, Fahad Alhajeri, Center 3 CEO, highlighted the subsidiary's business model, which includes the customer segments of hyperscalers and data center players, Tier 2 cloud, content and gaming, content delivery network, international carriers, local and regional carriers, and international enterprises.
“Our main objective is to make Saudi the digital hub in the region,” the Center 3 CEO said.
He noted that Saudi is forecasted to have the highest market share in the region.
“We will continue in advancing our country's position and we are investing in 16 subsea cables, and nine lading stations by 2025. We will increase our connectivity capacity from 30TB to 130TB, and with our sub cables systems, we have access to more than 100 plus landing cities globally.”
Center 3 CEO highlighted how the Middle East and Africa are underserved while the average global carrier of international connectivity from 2019 to 2025 is forecasted at 10 percent.
“The Middle East and Africa are growing two times faster than that at 20 percent and of course, among other factors, it's an indication of the gap in content localization. It is evident that a primary digital hub will evolve in the MENA region, creating a well-suited opportunity for the Kingdom,” Alhajeri said.
Center 3 aims to provide the three essential components in establishing a digital hub including media centers to store and process data, international connectivity to connect to international and regional markets, and active internet exchange.
“Usually these components are provided by multiple entities in different countries and regions that are the digital hub, we provide them all. Center 3 is the one-stop shop in the region,” he added.