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Saudi Arabia Communication
 
 
 

General

King Abdul Aziz was well aware that an efficient telecommunications system was essential to his plans for consolidating and developing the Kingdom and it was during his reign (in 1930) that the first telephone exchange was installed in Al-Dira.

In 1953, the Ministry of Communications was formed and amongst its responsibilities, were post and telecommunications. Within a year, the Saudi Arabian Radio Telecommunication Scheme RT-1 was installed, providing a multi-channel telephone and telegraph network linking Riyadh, Dammam, Jiddah, the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah, and Taif.

In 1977, the Ministry of Post, Telegraphs and Telephones (which had taken over PTT responsibilities from the Ministry of Communications) embarked upon an ambitious plan to establish a modern telecommunications network, comprising telephone, telegraph and telex services, for the entire Kingdom.

In May 1998, Saudi Arabia's telecommunications services were privatized. The new company, known as the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC), had a capital of more than SR10 billion during the first phase. STC will become one of the Kingdom's largest employers, providing jobs for more than 70,000 Saudis. There are plans to add 1.7 million new telephone lines across the country in the next three to four years.

In May 1998, Saudi Arabia's telecommunications services were privatized. The new company, known as the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC), had a capital of more than SR10 billion during the first phase. STC will become one of the Kingdom's largest employers, providing jobs for more than 70,000 Saudis. There are plans to add 1.7 million new telephone lines across the country in the next three to four years.

In May 2003, the Ministry of Post, Telegraph and Telephones was renamed Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology.

In January 1996, the Global System for Mobiles (GSM) was launched in the Kingdom, with the aim of installing 500,000 GSM mobile telephones. By late September 1996, more than half were in operation. By the end of the project, 45 Saudi cities and towns and all major highways were covered.

In 2001, there were 2,528,640 AMT and GSM mobile telephones in operation.

The development of the Kingdom's economy has generated a massive increase in the volume of mail which the postal services have had to handle. In a continuing process of expansion, the Fourth Development Plan provided for five new central post offices (in the Holy City of Madinah, Abha, Buraidah, Jizan and Sakaka) to complement the three main postal complexes in Riyadh, Jiddah and Dammam. An efficient postal network now covers all the cities and villages of the Kingdom, with 477 main and 185 branch post offices.

The development of telex services in the Kingdom has kept pace with every innovation in telex technology. From the early days of electro-mechanical devices, through the installation of electronic machines in 1978 (1398/99 AH), to the introduction in the 1980s (1400s AH) of the most sophisticated equipment, capable of handling Arabic and Latin text simultaneously, the Ministry of Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones, as it was then, ensured that the Kingdom's ever-growing need for efficient telex communication services was met.

In 1985, with the launch of two communications satellites, Arabsat (the Arab Satellite Communications Organization - formed by the Arab League in 1976) became operational. The Arabsat satellites are positioned in geo-stationary orbit above the equator.

In 1985, with the launch of two communications satellites, Arabsat (the Arab Satellite Communications Organization - formed by the Arab League in 1976) became operational. The Arabsat satellites are positioned in geo-stationary orbit above the equator.

Communications satellites facilitate the almost instantaneous transmission of many forms of data, including alphanumeric text, voice, still pictures and moving pictures. Their uses, in news dissemination, in business, in entertainment and in education are limited only by the imagination and resources of the user.

The Kingdom is playing an active role in the development and exploitation of this exciting medium of communication.


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