The Communications and IT Commission (CITC) has extended the mobile operating licence of Zain Saudi Arabia (originally known as MTC Saudi) for 15 years, in exchange for 5% of the cellco’s annual net income during the extension period. The operating authorisation is now valid until 18 January 2047. Further, the authority has offered 15-year extensions to all other mobile service providers – Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and Etihad Atheeb (GO Telecom).
In addition, the government is planning to award unified licences, which will allow the operators to offer fixed line telecoms services. Currently, STC is the only telecoms provider in the country authorised to offer fixed broadband and landline telephony services.
Following the CITC decisions, the Capital Market Authority (CMA) has suspended trading in shares of all telecoms providers in the country, until the companies announce the impact of the government’s order on them.