CITC ordered to allow free roaming

7 May 2013

Saudi Arabia’s Board of Grievances has ordered the country’s telecommunications regulator the Communications and IT Commission (CITC) to allow Mobily (Etihad Etisalat) to offer free roaming services to its customers. Mobily took the CITC to court over its decision to ban local service providers from offering free roaming. According to the court’s decision, the CITC is obliged to lift the SAR500,000 (USD130,000) penalty imposed on Mobily for continuing to offer its free service, although the CITC can appeal the decision. The Consumer Protection Association (CPA) is also planning to take the CITC to court for banning the free service, as reported by Arab News.

In April 2013, the CITC ordered the country’s cellcos – STC, Mobily and Zain – to suspend the free roaming service, as an estimated two million SIM cards had been shipped out of the country in five years with estimated loss of SAR2.2 billion for mobile operators.