When “Vision 2030” was launched back in 2015, it started a transformation of the entire country’s economy by moving away from oil. Encouraging stronger development in public, private and telecom sectors.
While this is all great for the Saudi people, expats are constantly getting asked to leave their jobs. Expatriate Group reported in 2017 that over 300,000 expats left Saudi willingly, likely because of job losses.
“This has had a huge impact on the mobile subscriptions,” the Makkah newspaper reported; quoting statistics by the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC).
Haytham Abu Ayesha, former chairman of CIT Committee, reported that a big number of previous mobile subscribers had been expatriates and the new direction by the kingdom is impacting local Telecom businesses.
2017Q4 reports showed a decline of 40 million cell phone subscriptions, with prepaid subscriptions being around 30 million.
Not all is lost.
While cell phone subscriptions are falling, mobile broadband subscriptions have been rising in the past few years; this is due to many people using VoIP services, such as Whatsapp.
Reported to be 30 million or 25% over the previous year, with the total spending reaching $36.3 billion by the end of 2017.
Investments from both private and public sectors to the telecom sectors are increasingly on the rise, it is reported by the Saudi Gazette that the GDP increased to 6%.
By the end of 2017, fixed line services were tallied at 3.64 million; 52% being residential and 48% commercial.