Saudi Arabia Opens Telecom Sector to Foreign Investment
The Saudi government approved a bill Monday to end the state monopoly on telecommunications and to open up to foreign capital, the SPA agency reported.
According to the agency, the supreme economic council, chaired by Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, "gave its agreement to the telecommunications bill" during a meeting headed by the crown prince.
On May 14, the Saudi consultative council adopted the measure, which permits the establishment of shareholding telecommunications companies, without ruling out foreign investors from holding capital, said Bahrain Tribune.
A member of the consultative council, Abdul Aziz Al Suwayegh, was quoted by the economic paper Al Iqtissadiya as saying that "the bill aims firstly to break the monopoly over the telecom service," which is controlled by the Saudi Telecommunications Co. (STC).
The Saudi government has also been considering plans to privatize the giant firm, which also controls the Internet and mobile services.
The kingdom has more than three million landlines and almost two million mobile users, said the Bahraini daily – Albawaba.com