STC’s brand value rose to $6.2 billion at the end of 2016, up 11% from the year before, becoming the most valuable brand in the Middle East, according to Brand Finance, an independent brand valuation consultancy. This highlights the continuing excellence and leadership at all levels that contributed to the growth of the telecommunications sector in the Kingdom.
STC also ranked first among the highest national brands in the first classification of its kind in Saudi Arabia for the strongest brands index according to international standards, which was organised by Prince Mohammed bin Salman Foundation ‘Misk Charity’ and King Abdullah Economic City in the first quarter of 2017.
6 billion SR to boost broadband capacity
The most prominent recent project of STC was the agreements signed with international companies on the sidelines of their recent participation in Gitex Dubai in October. The value of these projects amounted to approximately 6 billion SR. The most important of these projects are the agreements with Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei.
The Nokia agreement stipulates enhancing mobile broadband and coverage in the Kingdom using the technology of wireless systems of Pro Technology 4.5, which provides a new set of innovative features such as multi-band assembly of users of the standard mobile communications 4G, which improves network resources and enhances the experience of end users.
The agreement with Huawei focuses on the deployment of 5G mobile ready wireless systems to support Saudi Telecom’s strategy for wireless systems of 5G mobile networks to meet the growing demands of subscribers and lead the development of the IT industry.
The Ericsson agreement focuses on managed services to increase customer experience, network performance and process quality, as well as deliver managed services for passive infrastructure, and electromechanical equipment for mobile access sites.
STC offers customers innovative solutions at the forefront of the knowledge-based economy and has a fibre optic network covering 158,000 km across Asia, Middle East and Europe. It has the largest / latest mobile network in the Middle East covering more than 99% of populated areas and offers 4G broadband services to more than 85% of the population across Saudi Arabia and operates digital transformation programs at an accelerated pace.
At the same time, it focuses on technical progress in managed services for business customers, including cloud computing, IOT, cyber security services and managed services.
It also invests in digital platforms to provide innovative services to individuals and business customers. These are in addition to its efforts to transfer to the digital economy through an integrated program to transform all operations of the company either in the way of providing services or after sales services.
Within the framework of NTP 2020 regarding the Kingdom’s ICT sector, STC signed an agreement with CITC in the third quarter of 2017 to implement high-speed fibre optics broadband as part of the ICT sector plan to expand the deployment of broadband services to homes and vital government facilities in various urban areas in the Kingdom. This aims to deliver fiber optic broadband services to more than 2 million homes in various urban areas of the Kingdom by covering 80% of the high-density homes and 55% of urban homes with fibre optic speeds of at least 100 Mbps.
The company works to provide a vision to suit the needs of various customer categories in the Kingdom, and these needs are primarily providing and deploying fixed and mobile data services. In this regard, the company offers different packages for different sects in the society.
For individuals, the company focuses on three important aspects: to strengthen mobile networks to support data for 3G and 4G networks in preparation for 5G that is expected to be launched globally in 2020; fibre optics deployment; and also care about the efficiency and capability of information centres.
Digitalisation is the base of flexibility
Digitalisation is the base of increased flexibility, speed of expansion, and management of business whether it is an activity aimed at providing service to citizens or within the investment activity in the private sector. The most important success factors for online services or e-commerce are the structures of customer experience, and the success of online service deployment that is accompanied by a steady increase in the technical requirements of this service, which must be met quickly to maintain the quality customers experience with high security and reliability.
The Kingdom’s vision is to focus one of its objectives on the ICT sector and aim to be one of the top five in the eGovernment Index. Communications is the driving force behind the vision of the Kingdom of 2030. It is the leader in digital transformation across the economy by employing the latest technologies and applications, such as cloud computing and IOT.
This reflects the trend towards transforming the economy from a traditional economy to a digital one, so that telecommunications companies are the main potential for this important transformation and are in line with what is now called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This is primarily based on the digital revolution that will reduce gradually the operational costs of the government sectors and various business sectors, whether commercial or industrial. It is expected to raise the level of efficiency and quality by focusing on the areas of work and the main specialisation of these sectors in addition to activating its work to achieve the objectives. It is expected to contribute to diversify sources of income and not rely on oil as the only primary source of the entire economy of the country.
The company has also set up a capital fund, which has set an investment target of $500 million over five years. This fund focuses on innovative projects and supports young people in their SMEs in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
STC is the first company to take this initiative. Although it is risky and there could be a delay in obtaining returns on investment, it is an investment for the future and for betterment of the Kingdom.