CITC to Grant New MVNO Licenses In 2020

The Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has released a Request for Application (RFA) to issue foreign mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) with licenses, enabling them to invest in Saudi Arabia, the company said.

This decision will play a role in achieving Saudi Arabia´s Vision 2030´s objective to increase the dynamism of the information technology and communication sector (ICT) through the use of digital technologies, while further developing the Kingdom´s knowledge-based economy. Licensing of MVNOs is also a key pillar in the five-year strategy established by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology to accelerate the ICT sector´s growth by 50% and elevate its contribution to GDP by USD 13.3 billion.

Until recently, Saudi Telecommunications company, Etihad Etisalat company (“Mobily”) and Mobile Telecommunications company Saudi Arabia (“Zain”) were the only mobile telecommunications operators in Saudi Arabia. The government has since offered MVNOs licenses to Virgin, Etihad Jawraa and Lebara.

Currently valued at USD 28.7 billion in 2019, the ICT sector in Saudi Arabia is forecasted to enjoy exponential growth in the years to come thanks to a young and tech-savvy population, 58% of whom are under the age of 30. companies awarded with a license will gain access to a market of more than 43.8 million mobile subscribers, with a mobile penetration rate of 129% of the total population. Saudi Arabia also has one of the highest social media penetration rate worldwide.