The share of IT and telecommunications sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) increased to 2.75 percent while its share to nonoil GDP grew to 7.0 percent in 2012, says a report released by Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA).
The number of fixed telephone lines in the Kingdom surpassed 4.8 million, 70 percent of which, or 3.4 million, were residential lines by the end of 2012. The penetration rate of fixed phone lines compared to population stood at 16.3 percent, the report said.
Meanwhile, the number of subscribers to mobile phone services reached 53 million by the end of 2012 at an annual growth rate of 18.3 percent whereas the penetration rate rose to 179.4 percent, the report said. Pre-paid subscribers captured 86 percent of the total subscriber base. The number of subscribers declined in the last two quarters of 2012 due to linkage of recharge of prepaid lines to ID number and cancellation of big number of lines due to failure of information updates, the report said.
Likewise, the number of subscribers to broadband services jumped to 12.3 million by the end of 2012. The growth is attributed to the increased connectivity to broadband services and widespread use of smart phones. The penetration rate of broadband services compared to population stood at 41.6 percent by the end of 2012, the report said.
On the other hand, the Internet users grew to 15.8 million by the end of 2012 where the Internet penetration rate grew by 53.5 percent in 2012 compared to 47.5 percent in 2011. The internet user growth was reportedly attributed to the growing awareness of the internet benefits, spread of broadband services and the decline in the prices of computers and telecom services, the report said.
Revenues of the telecom firms operating in the Kingdom stood at SR 71 billion by the end of 2012, at an annual average growth rate of 12 percent in the last 10 years (2003-2012).
Revenues of mobile telecom services represented 78 percent of the total revenues, the report said. Overseas investments of the Saudi telecom companies jumped from SR455 million in 2007 to SR18.7 billion by the end of 2012 thus bringing the total revenues of the company’s inland and overseas operations to nearly SR90 billion, the report said.