Zain Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s branch of the international mobile network, announced to its employees that it would stop providing unlimited prepaid plans this week.
In social-media savvy Saudi, it could be a major blow.
According to a Arabic-language article on the Jordan news site Kharberni, Zain Saudi Arabia sent employees a circular email announcing it would stop providing prepaid unlimited plans. The decision, it wrote, was keeping with a decision from Saudi’s Communication and Information Technology Commission. The service, it added, would end officially on October 2nd.
Saudi newspaper Thabaq also obtained an email, sent to employees, in which Zain announced it would end the sale of all prepaid plans with unlimited data. It added that the usage statistics for prepaid plans in Saudi were much higher than other countries, leading the program to be unsustainable in the Kingdom.
Essentially, the immense popularity of these plans in Saudi Arabia had negatively impacted the quality of the service that was available to the ordinary users.
Some 64% of Saudi Arabia’s population are users of the internet. But its citizens are particularly ardent social media fans: it boasts the world’s highest number of Twitter users relative to internet as a whole, and boasts 40% of Twitter users in the region.
Earlier this year Saudi Arabia banned Line, a program used for making out-of-country calls over the internet, provoking anger among social media users. It was rumored that the ban was provoked by telecommunications companies anxious about losing revenue to the services. This makes Zain’s cancellation of unlimited internet bundles one of a few setbacks for social media and internet users in Saudi Arabia.
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