Spending on telecoms and related technology in Saudi Arabia exceeded 94 billion riyals ($25bn) in 2012, marking a 14 percent increase on the previous year, according to the local telecoms regulator.
The rise in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) spending came despite a slight decline in mobile users, according to the annual report of the Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC).
There were about 53 million mobile subscriptions at the end of 2012, the report said, compared with 53.7m in 2011. The mobile penetra¬tion rate stood at 181.6 percent in 2012, a decline from 188 percent the year before. There was higher broadband uptake, however, with 2.54m fixed-line subscriptions compared to 1.95m in 2011.
“The information and communication technology (ICT) sector has evolved significantly… especially in the areas of ICT market liberalization, promoting and fostering competition, availability and range of services, and improved efficiency,” wrote Mohammed Mulla, CITC board chairman and the Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology, in the report.
Revenues in the telecom services sector reached 71bn riyals in 2012, in comparison to 20bn riyals in 2001, with an average annual growth rate of 12 percent over the last ten years, stated the CITC report.
Mobile revenues made up 78 percent of total telecom revenues, while fixed and data services accounted for the remaining 22 percent, it added.
The CITC issued a total of 292 licenses in 2012, compared to 230 the year before, the report noted.