Saudi Arabia’s Communications and IT Commission (CITC) has set a schedule to further liberalise the Kingdom’s communications sector following its entry into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) last month. The CITC said that a full calendar of its activities is currently being developed, including a timetable for receiving and processing applications for new telecoms licences, which will be made available early this year. The first stage of a public consultation will begin in the second quarter of this year, with the objective of awarding national licences before the end of the year. Under its commitment to the WTO the regulator has promised that it will allow up to 70% foreign equity ownership in telecoms operators within three years.
Saudi Arabia formally joined the WTO on 11 December 2005, becoming its 149th member, and reiterated its commitment to further liberalisation of its trade regime and accelerate its integration in the world economy, while offering a clear and transparent trading environment for foreign investors in accordance with WTO rules.