Arab Advisors Group
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Four upcoming VSAT licenses herald a form of competition in Saudi Arabia's datacomm market.
Thursday, June 5, 2003

The introduction of VSAT will provide an alternative was to provide broadband Internet in the country. June 05, 2003 - Saudi Telecom Company (STC)'s monopoly over VSAT services will end in 2003, as four VSAT licenses will be awarded this year. Twenty seven companies have been pre-qualified for the tender, which will have a limited scope when compared to STC's services. Saudi Telecom will retain its monopoly over other datacomm services, including X.25, Frame Relay and ATM services, in addition to being the only provider of PSTN, GSM and International connectivity in the Kingdom. On the ISP front, several consolidations occurred in the Internet Service Provider market, making the total number of ISP licenses 23, down from 30 in 2001, with 21 ISP currently operational. There are no future plans to issue new ISP licenses, so as to encourage further consolidation between ISPs. A new comprehensive country report, "Saudi Arabia Internet and Datacomm Landscape Report 2003." was released to the Arab Advisors Group's ( Strategic Research Service subscribers on June 4, 2003. The 45-pages report fully analyses the Saudi Internet, datacomm and content market and provides five-year forecasts of more than 40 Demographic, Economic and Infrastructure indicators. It also fully analyses all the major datacomm and Internet operators in the country and the equipment vendors' competitive landscape. This comprehensive report can be purchased from Arab Advisors Group for only US$ 750. Any investment in this report will count towards a Strategic Research Service subscription should the service be acquired within three months from purchasing the report. "Despite having a relatively low penetration rates for Internet users and subscribers when compared to other Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia has a substantial Internet market. The number of Internet users reached around 1.5 million by yearend 2002, a penetration rate of 6.6%, served by 581,000 Internet accounts, a penetration rate of 2.64%. The Arab Advisors Group projects the Internet subscribers to exceed 1.6 million in 2007, while Internet users are expected to reach 3.8 million the same year, with penetration rates of 6.5% and 15.7% respectively.." Arab Advisors Group's President, Jawad Abbassi, noted. "The slow uptake of ADSL in Saudi Arabia has a supply side cause: Some 50% of the applications for ADSL are rejected due to the fact that applicants' premises are not located within 5 cable kilometers of the STC's exchanges." Mr. Abbassi added. "This is why, the Arab Advisors Group foresees a major market for VSAT service in broadband Internet connectivity. As wire-line DSL service is lagging behind due to technical limitations and population dispersion. VSAT could offer a viable alternative for companies and, even individuals, who wish to have access to high speed Internet in areas not covered by STC's DSL services." Given the ongoing tender for VSAT licenses in Saudi, the Arab Advisors Group is pleased to provide a special package on very relevant and up to date research in Saudi Arabia as follows: The country reports of - Saudi Arabia Communications Projections Report 2003 - Saudi Arabia Internet and Datacomm Landscape Report 2003 - Saudi Arabia Communications Projections Report 2001 - Saudi Arabia Internet and Datacomm Landscape Report 2001 - In addition to 5 Research notes of choice Will be made available for only US$ 1,500 (a discount of more than 850 US$). The Arab Advisors Group's team of analysts in the region has already produced more than 160 reports on the Arab World's communications markets. The reports can be purchased individually or received through an annual subscription to Arab Advisors Group's ( Strategic Research Service. To date, Arab Advisors Group has served more than 70 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients.

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