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Watch: Saudi Telecom signs multi $billion soccer deal to diversify offering

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) Group CEO Khaled Biyari discusses the company’s earnings, performance and a multi billion dollar soccer broadcast rights deal. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: Middle East.”

STC had a successful Q4 and recently announced a lucrative Saudi soccer deal, but what challenges lay ahead?

“We have seen impressive results in 2017, due to cost efficiencies and optimization, with Q4 profits up 27% and full year profits up 14% yoy,” said Biyari.

“But 2017 also saw a decrease in revenues due to challenging economic conditions and regulatory environments.”

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The lifting of the ban on VoIP has been a major game changer.

“It had a major impact on our revenues especially long distance calling,” said Biyari.

He added that STC is faced with either capitalizing on Data usage opportunities in Saudi, the highest per capita in the world, and/or diversifying by investing in adjancencies.

“In 2017, we announced a $500 million technology venture fund to invest in emerging technologies like  AI, VR, and digital health and we will continue doing that,” he said.

“We have also announced our new strategy to invest in media, digital financial services, IT services, Cloud and IoT, and just recently signed a $1.8bn deal to get the digital rights for the Saudi soccer league.”

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