The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) will
publish its financial reports for 1999 and 2000 within the next four
months, in advance of the public flotation of its shares.
The government has
already given the STC the go-ahead for the public flotation and Saudi
law states that a share holding company must publish its budgets for
two years before floating its shares through the stock exchange.
The telecom giant
increased its revenues last year by 12.6 percent to SR16.5 billion,
against SR14.6 billion the previous year. The company received payment
of SR15.2 billion, or 92 percent, of the bills it issued last year.
The total amount of
unpaid STC bills since the company’s formation in 1988 until the end
of 2000 stood at SR3.3 billion. The bills cover all STC services
except mobile phones.
expenditure on restructuring programs amounted to SR465 million over
the past two years. The program aims at improving STC’s
administration and the efficiency of its various departments.
STC last week
awarded a SR2.545 billion ($678.66 million) contract to Ericsson of
Sweden and Nokia of Finland to expand the Kingdom’s mobile phone
system by adding 2.8 million lines to the network within two years.
As per the
contract, the cost of a single mobile line will be SR909 ($242)
instead of SR1,028 ($274) in the last expansion project.
However, Saleh Al-Jasser,
director general of marketing, told Arab News that the cost would
exceed SR909 as the costs of linking new mobile lines with the ground
network would be added to it.
The contract also
calls for the expansion of the network in Jeddah by replacing 470,000
existing lines and adding 657,000 new mobile lines. The third
component of the project includes the replacement of 12 exchanges in
the Western Region and the establishment of four new ones.
This part will be
handled Kingdom wide by Ericsson, which will also execute a major
portion of the STC radio network.
The contract also
provides for installing a new signaling system to be connected to the
fixed line network to streamline the paging system.
such as General Packet Radio System (GPRS), prepaid, Wireless
Applications Protocol (WAP), Intelligent Network and so on will be
incorporated. The GPRS will facilitate Internet services through the
implement the project in the Western Region, where it will replace
866,000 existing GSM lines and install 688,000 new ones. It will also
train 55 Saudi nationals.
According to Al-Jasser,
the expansion program will cover all the Kingdom’s cities.
Currently, a total of 100 cities involving over 90 percent of the
population have been linked within the GSM network.
acting president of STC, said the present contract will focus on
extending the GSM network to 12 main roads in the cities, thereby
bringing 95 percent of the Kingdom’s roads within the expansion
the coverage will extend to the interior of the Kingdom, including
villages. Data transmission will be much faster than at present and
also free from any disturbance.