Saudi Arabia plans to fully liberalise its telecommunications sector by the end of next year, officials say.


The Communications and Information Technology Commission is studying a number of offers from companies interested in investing in Saudi Arabia, says Mohammad Al Suwayel, head of the commission. The country’s third mobile phone operator licence will be issued by the middle of 2006.
These moves come as officials search for ways to increase competition, raise the quality of services on offer, and hopefully spark the creation of thousands of new jobs for unemployed youth.


The commission has adopted a series of steps for the improvement of internet services in Saudi Arabia.


These steps will be implemented by the end of this year. Work is underway on projects such as the introduction of new technologies and the provision of wider access.


These measures build on earlier steps adopted by the commission. They include an overall review of prices and the introduction of the Easy Net service, an effort to widen internet usage in Saudi Arabia.


Meanwhile, a source at the Saudi Telecommunication Company (STC) says the company has been able to collect on debts owed by customers who have consistently failed to pay their bills. The debts have shrunk from SR2bn to SR600mn.