Saudi operators worried over new SIM registration rules

17 Dec 2012

Telcos in Saudi Arabia are complaining that a change to the legislation covering the registration of mobile SIM cards for expatriate workers could see their profits cut by up to 20%. According to a Telecompaper report, operators are worried that a new scheme proposed by the Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) will lead to foreign workers cutting their mobile contracts. The regulator has ruled that all mobile users must enter their national ID number before they can top up a pre-paid account, but some users from overseas are unable to renew their ID if the company they work for does not employ enough Saudi workers under the state’s ‘Nitaqat’ programme, which calls for larger companies to have a workforce comprising of up to 30% Saudi nationals. Saudi Arabia is home to more than eight million expatriate workers.