Why Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s population, with around 27 mln people, is the largest in the GCC. The youth and expatriate segments are an influential part of the consumer dynamics, representing a large portion of this base. The youth segment (15-24 years) stands at around 5 mln of the total population, and the expatriate segment is estimated at around 8 mln people. both segments are by far the largest in size in the GCC region. These unique demographic conditions provide the Saudi Arabian telecoms players with a beneficial environment to flourish, with the youth and expatriate consumer segments fuelling demand for innovative services. This demand is backed up by growing GDP per capita, which is expected to continue to grow at a healthy pace.
Saudi Arabia is by-far the largest telecoms market in the GCC accounting for 66% of total mobile subscribers, 59% of total fixed line connections and 58% of total internet users. In addition to this burgeoning industry and large market share, the big growth areas lie in internet and broadband usage, with only 38% of the country’s population with internet connectivity. Couple this with favorable economic and demographic conditions, the opportunity is there for telecom related companies to compete, do business and gain profitability in this high growth, sustainable market.
Saudi Arabia's economy minister says the kingdom projects telecom investment will hit around 37 billion riyals ($9.9 billion) in 2013, whilst investment in boosting and developing the sector had reached 22.3 billion riyals in 2009. He said that the oil rich kingdom projects that investment to grow to 50 billion riyals in 2015.
Over the last 5 years, the Saudi Arabian telecom market has seen phenomenal growth to become a US$11.6 billion industry in 2010 that contributes around 3% of total country GDP. In addition, the national regulator – the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) is taking an active role in encouraging competition, improving the broadband access markets and improving pricing conditions for consumers through a reduction in interconnection and access charges.
The prospects for growth and prosperity within the telecoms industry in Saudi Arabia at the current time is better than ever with increased market players, an improved regulatory environment, favorable demographic dynamics amongst retail users and high demand by a burgeoning tech-hungry corporate sector. Saudi Arabia alone will grow, in absolute terms, more than the rest of the GCC telecom markets put together.