Saudi STC sees more lucrative local market as priority: CEO

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While Saudi Telecom Co's (STC) continues to explore “suitable” investment opportunities outside the kingdom, the Riyadh-based sees the more profitable local market as a priority, STC’s CEO Khaled Al-Ghunaim has told Al Arabiya.

“There is an emphasis on the local market because it brings about 70 percent of the company’s returns,” Al-Ghunaim said during the Mobile World Congress 2013 recently held in Barcelona, adding the “Saudi market is still promising, the percentage of youth is high, and income is high in comparison to other regional markets.”

Ghunaim said the restructuring of STC was also aimed to focus on the local market; however, the company is constantly looking for new opportunities that can generate “suitable” returns outside Saudi Arabia.

“Our main goal is not to expand our investments, but to search for better opportunities that would remunerate better incomes.”

STC has won back domestic market share by aggressively pricing broadband bundle packages, while the firm - majority-owned by the government - has operations across the Muslim world from Turkey to Indonesia, according to Reuters.

Ghunaim said STC has reviewed its international investments strategy and the management will be making an announcement about it in the near future.

“We have the biggest network, and our goal is to reach 1.5 million sites by the end of 2015. We have now reached 500,000 sites, of which 100,000 were established this year. We offer to these 100,000 sites many services including interactive television that is witnessing a huge growth in demand.”

The write-off, which the company has done for the depreciation of assets, is merely an accounting procedure, he added.

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