Top Telecoms in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's Largest Telecoms
Marcopolis.net has compiled the ranking of the top telecom companies in Saudi Arabia. View the list of the largest mobile operators in the country. The largest telecoms are STC, followed by Mobily and Zain KSA --the fastest growing and best telecom in Saudi Arabia.
The salient feature of Saudi telecom market are high penetration rates, high per spending capita and fast growing mobile data services. The country's mobile penetration rate reached 171.4% -- 53 million by the end of Q4 2014 as per the report by MCIT -- after peaking in 2011 at 188%. Fixed telephone lines reached 3.62 million, of which around 2.53 million or 70% were residential lines. The fixed telephone lines segment remains stagnant and even declines with 45% of household teledensity.
Fixed broadband services are on the ascent because of the informatization of the society and prevalence of the Internet usage by the Saudi population. Fixed broadband subscriptions including DSL, fixed wireless (WiMax), FTTx and other fixed lines have grown to around 3 million subscriptions at the end of Q4 2014. The Fixed broadband penetration rate stands at about 43.2% of households which is a slight decline over 2013 with 45.5%.
The most promising sub-sector is the mobile broadband services. The total number of mobile broadband subscribers continues to increase. With 29 million subscribers at the end of 2014 -- an 46.9% increase over 2013 -- the sector continues to thrive. The penetration rate has reached 94.5% in 2014. The boom in mobile data services is lead by the smartphone revolution.
The 3 largest mobile operators continue to invest into infrastructure. Ahead of the pack is Zain KSA with the newest 4G network (invested USD 1.2 billion) that offers the fastest data services in the big cities (Zain KSA saw a phenomenal 48% rise in data revenues (excluding SMS & VAS) Y-o-Y which represents 16% of total revenues as the company expands its state-of-the-art 4G LTE network that currently covers 52% of the population.). STC offers quality 4G and 3G services and covers most of the country. The number of Internet users in Saudi Arabia reached 19.6 million at the end of Q4 2014.
The sector is dominated by 3 telecom operators; the incumbent STC, Mobily and Zain KSA. While STC retains the primacy, Zain KSA is the fastest growing telecom with the best network. Out of the total 52 million subscribers STC is still the largest telecom with a 44.4% (23.1 mln) market share followed by Mobily with a 38% market share and Zain KSA with with a 17.3% market share. The launch of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) in the Saudi telecoms market will certainly impact the market in the future.
The List of Top Telecoms in Saudi Arabia
||Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is majority-owned by the government through Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (70.0%, following a part-privatisation in 2003), the Public Pension Fund (6.6%) and the General Organisation for Social Insurance (7.0%); no other entity holds more than 5% in the operator. At end-September 2014 STC had market capitalisation of SAR150 billion (USD40 billion), making it one of the largest Middle Eastern companies at that date.
||The consortium is led by United Arab Emirates firm Etisalat who owns 27%, with 45% held by 6 strategic local partners. The remaining 20% was put up in 2004 in an Initial public offering that was massively oversubscribed (51 or 30 times).
||Zain Group holds a 37% equity stake, a Saudi consortium owns 21%, and the remaining 42% are free float. Zain KSA is expanding and upgrading the network worth SAR 4.5 billion (USD 1.2 billion). The upgrade aims to enhance Zain KSA’s customer experience and expand Zain’s network capacity, coverage and speed. The operator witnessed the 2 nd highest customer growth among the group with 9% increase Y-o-Y to now serve more than 9 million customers. The operator saw a phenomenal 48% rise in data revenues Y-o-Y as the company expands its state-of-the-art 4G LTE network that currently covers 52% of the population. Zain KSA’s network covers 93% of the population through a total of 6,113 network sites.