In a first-of-its-kind initiative for the Kingdom, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) launched an open access agreement between all six telecommunications companies, guaranteeing the provision of broadband services through any subscriber-selected service provider, independent of infrastructure ownership.
The agreement was signed by the CEOs of each of the telecoms providers, which included Saudi Telecom Company (stc), Saudi Mobily Company (Mobily), Mobile Telecommunications Company Saudi Arabia (Zain), Integrated Telecom Company (ITC), Dawiyat Integrated, and Etihad Atheeb Telecom (GO). The initiative aims to utilize the existing infrastructure, encourage competition, attract investment, and increase broadband subscriptions by improving service quality and consumer choice.
During the signing ceremony, H.E. Dr Mohammed Al Tamimi, governor of the CITC, praised the initiative for its success in uniting the efforts of communications service providers under the new agreement. “By increasing access to broadband networks for individuals and businesses, this initiative will help further optimize our country's resources while building a cohesive digital community, in line with the Kingdom's ambitious plans.”
Dr Al Tamimi added, “The adoption of an open access model will increase the use of Saudi's fiber-optic infrastructure through the development of commercial agreements that make it easier for subscribers to choose any provider they prefer”.
The governor also commended the level of cooperation between participating telecoms companies throughout the development of the open access initiative.
The Kingdom’s digital transformation has accelerated significantly since the launch of Vision 2030, with its ICT sector valued at $28.7 billion, the largest in the Arab world. According to the International Telecommunication Union, Saudi Arabia has an internet penetration rate of 93% versus the global average of 53%. Additionally, the Kingdom was the first adopter of commercial 5G technology in the region and the third largest globally and recently jumped 93 places to 12th in global rankings for internet speed, with an average download speed of 57.46 Mbps.