International Finance

Saudi Telecom sees record revenue rise amid 2Africa cable announcement

IFM_Saudi Telecom
Saudi Telecom Company has announced that the Meta-led 2Africa subsea cable will be coming to Bahrain

Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the largest mobile operator in the Kingdom, reported record-high revenues and a net profit for the entire year of 2022 that increased by over 8% to SAR12.17 billion (USD 3.24 billion).

Saudi Telecom Company stated in a regulatory report on Riyadh’s Tadawul exchange that the revenue, which the company said was the biggest ever, grew 7% to SAR67 billion, led by growth in all business sectors.

Saudi Telecom Company recorded an impairment provision related to a BGSM investment worth SAR1.25 billion this year instead of SAR 177 million in 2021. This was “due to decline in fair value as a result of the decline in market conditions and quoted share prices of key underlying investment in the Malaysian market, which led to the re-evaluation of this investment based on these factors,” according to STC.

The company, in which the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia maintains a 64% share, reported that EBITDA and zakat for the year totalled SAR25 billion, an increase of about 10% from SAR22.8 billion in the same period in 2021.

Meanwhile, Saudi Telecom Company has announced that the Meta-led 2Africa subsea cable will be coming to Bahrain.

STC Bahrain & Center3 have announced plans to land the 2Africa Pearls submarine cable system in Bahrain.

The companies have also completed the marine survey to bring the cable to the Middle-Eastern country.

Meta, along with Telecom Egypt, China Mobile International, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, STC, Vodafone, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) announced the 2Africa cable in 2020 that would circle Africa.

In 2021, an extension to the original cable, known as 2Africa Pearls, was announced. The extension will create further landing points in Oman, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and Saudi Arabia.

At 45,000km, it is the world’s largest subsea cable and is set to connect 33 countries with 46 landing points across Africa, Europe, and Asia once it’s complete. Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) will manufacture and deploy the 180Tbps cable by 2024.

Eng Nezar Banabeela, CEO of STC Bahrain, told the media outlet DCD, “This is a landmark achievement for us and affirms STC Bahrain’s commitment to spearheading digital transformation and solidifies the region’s position as a regional ICT hub. 2Africa Pearls will vastly increase the data backbone of Bahrain by 100x providing high-speed connectivity services that will accommodate the futuristic heavy data demand.”

Fahad A. Alhajeri, CEO of Center3, added, “Connecting 2Africa Pearls with Bahrain marks another significant accomplishment for Center3. The project progress is critical to center3 in linking Asia, Africa, and Europe. The 2Africa subsea cable is a vital step towards achieving this objective and solidifying Center3’s position as a leading player in the region’s connectivity landscape.”

Saudi Telecom Company and its infrastructure subsidiary Center3 landed the 2Africa cable in Jeddah and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia in January 2023. A third Saudi landing is due in Dubai.

Center3 was launched in October 2022 to handle the Saudi Telecom Company group-owned digital infrastructure assets.

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