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HOW STC IS CHALLENGING THE RECESSION

Mehran Muslimi

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Being the largest telecom services provider in the region, STC has and ever keenness on achieving the aspirations of its customers through the provision of the state of the art in communication services and information technology. We are pumping investments of more than $ 1.3 billion a year to raise the reliability of the Saudi market’s services. After we have managed to meet all the Saudi market’s needs, we aimed to internationality in deliberate pace.


The market of broadband Afaq DSL communication services witnessed a large growth in the Kingdom as the sales of the DSL technology lines had exceeded with the end of 2008 more than million DSL lines. This proportion is far higher than the growth rates in all Arab countries, where it reached by the end of- 2007- 600 thousand customers, and by the end of 2006 its sales reached approximately 194,000 subscribers in the broadband DSL, compared to 51,000 by the end of 2005. Therefore, STC has achieved a growth rate exceeding 500% or 5 times over two years only, which are very high growth rates by all standards.

Being the largest telecom services provider in the region, STC has and ever keenness on achieving the aspirations of its customers through the provision of the state of the art in communication services and information technology.


We are pumping investments of more than $ 1.3 billion a year to raise the reliability of the Saudi market’s services. After we have managed to meet all the Saudi market’s needs, we aimed to internationality in deliberate pace.

The Strategy of Internal Investment
(Horizontal and Vertical expansion):

The expansion objectives of STC do not only focus on the number of customers, but go beyond that to the reinforcement of the services and offering them in new regions of the Kingdom. STC pumps annual investments of more than 5 billion SR (1.3 Billion $) in the Saudi market and it intends to go on with these investments in the future to develop the networks and to provide various service packs. This has in turn gained the company a rapid growth in its different services and businesses as the number of mobile customers in the Kingdom increased by more than 2 million customers in 2008 only, where the number of subscribers to the company’s Broadband services reached more than 5 millions by the beginning of this year through the use of more than one million DSL lines.

The Strategy of Foreign Investment (from Local to Global)
Operates in ten markets around the world

STC is actually keen not to enter any new market or start new investments until all the corresponding studies are complete. That is due to the fact that we have been able to secure a privileged position in all the markets where we work and we have drawn an image for ourselves that shall try hard to maintain, if not reinforce. In addition, STC will continue to hit its stride in foreign investments where it continues the process of searching for new emerging markets in the field of communications.

STC took some strides in making extensive studies for foreign investment projects. But, before that, STC was quite sure of satisfying all the requirements of the Saudi market through providing it with the latest available communication services around the world to achieve many qualitative strides in the development standard of the information community. Subsequently, STC took ambitious and planned steps in the path of foreign investment, after gaining huge amount of experiences and successes in the local borders. The series of successes continued after winning nine more global licenses that included Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan and reached South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Turkey. That is in addition to taking a leading and advanced position on the national level in the KSA.

Providing services for more than 100 million customer

STC is committed to managing its services on a highly professional standard by adopting the latest and advancing the existing networks, services and packs.

Consequently, STC was capable of attracting a customer base of more than 100 million customer, particularly that it carefully chooses its investment markets and provides long, medium and short term plans to offer services in ten markets in a highly competitive standards, though these are considered from the most attractive and competing global markets.
Emerging Telecom Economics (new players in the global telecom market) such as China Telecom Company and STC among others:

The global telecommunication market was previously restricted to a number of international pioneer telecommunication companies. But later on it took another drift, where new emerging economics succeeded in bringing out a number of companies that used, until the recent past, to focus their activities on the local or regional markets. Yet, they were capable in short time of developing themselves and becoming international as they now compete and pump investments in the telecom markets of several countries.

The occurrence of companies as STC and China Telecom as official sponsors of the conference and exhibition of ITU is a clear indication of the appearance of ambitious companies willing to extend their international existence and be capable of competing with the world’s major telecommunication companies.

Success stories with global standard:

From the most prominent successes that will be always a source of pride for Saudi Telecom is its being capable of accommodating the high growth in the number of internet users, whereas the studies indicate that the Kingdom is one of the fastest growing markets in the number of internet users. The actual challenges that changed that realty to an accomplishment was that the company was capable of expanding the range of its network and infrastructure to accommodate the huge increase in the customers’ number, where the number of customers in Afaq DSL service jumped from 180 thousand to more than one million line in 2 years, serving more than 5 million users. Furthermore, there was a large increase in the mobile customers where their number jumped from 13 million customers by the end of 2006 to about 20 million customers throughout the first half of this year 2009.

Serving 5 million pilgrims and visitors (Hajj and Mo’tamer) during the greatest annual gathering on earth:

From the challenges that we are always proud of achieving, year after year, is what is accomplished during one of the largest annual gathering around the world, for two weeks, where the pilgrims of the Holy mosque and visitors arrive to the heart of the Islamic world to perform the Hajj and Umrah. Consequently, this gathering results in a huge momentum due to hundred millions of calls and text messages between the pilgrims and their families. Thus, the company expanded the coverage range by intensifying the communication strengthening towers, in addition to providing centers and special communication service vehicles, to end every year with a new record achieved in serving the pilgrims of the holy mosque. The effort done in the utmost of the communication activity of the pilgrims and their families in a specific time and specific locations and the follow up of this activity according to the of motion the pilgrims and their movement between the visiting places (Al-Mash’er), is a huge human and technical challenge by all measures. We are proud to meet this challenge by providing an advanced standard of telecommunication services that performs smoothly and steadily around the clock, year after year.

The company’s vital role to secure the communication between East and West in technical crisis situations, such as shortages of marine cables (smart investment in infrastructure):

STC is not a company that is only interested in providing the best services for its investment markets, but it is one of the best international players in the field of regional infrastructure investments and in opening communication channels between East and West. From these are the huge investments that STC pumped in the international cables, based on its high belief in their importance. Indeed, the vision was achieved and the benefit of that investment was obvious when the company was capable of overcoming the crisis of the shortage of the three submarine cables in the Mediterranean Sea, Alexandria and Italy. That shortage affected the audio connection services and international internet service in the region due to the fact that the telephone activity, internet and exchanged information through these cables represent more than 80% of the overall exchanged activity around the world.

It is known that the international network of “STC” is the latest and most advanced network in the region and is also one of the pioneers in the use of submarine cables technology in telecommunications, where it started with the first generation of continental marine cable SEA ME WE 1 in 1986, which used the copper technology. These techniques have evolved to develop into fiber-optic networks along with the technology of DWDM.

Leading the process of electronic culture creation in the largest market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Although Saudi Arabia is a young nation, and it has been 79 years since it was united under the leadership of King Abdul-Aziz, yet it has ambitious plans to break the barriers of time and place to reach, by that ambition accompanied by proper planning, the level of developed countries in many aspects that are central to the structure of any country. It already managed to create a society of qualified cadres and services with high levels of technology, and is still determined to move towards these objectives with a series of strategic plans, on top of which is the deployment of the Internet culture to attain an information society that considers the technology basic in the daily dealings and can deal with all the facts of the e-government.

By, Mehran Muslimi
 
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