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Prepaid cell phone chips by year-end
Jeddah, 6th March 2001

The Saudi Telecommunications Company will start distributing prepaid mobile phone chips by the end of this year, according to Abdul Rahman Al-Yami, the company’s director general. Speaking to Arab News, he said the service was delayed due to technical reasons.

He dismissed reports that STC was planning to provide a mobile service for students.

Al-Yami expected the company could market one million mobile phones and 600,000 ordinary phones next year. STC now sells 100,000 mobile phones and 500,000 ordinary phones every month. He said a new service named Wireless Application Protocol would be made available in two months. WAP will enable cell phone subscribers to surf the Internet through their phones. He said the company was trying to prevent illegal calls by offering competitive tariffs.

The company is coordinating with security authorities to put an end to illegal phone rackets.

It is anticipated that WAP will have an enormous impact on society. In the Kingdom, with its very low rate of PC penetration and the popularity of cell phones, WAP could quickly become the preferred method of Internet access for the general population.

The company recently decided to cut mobile phone connection fee by 47 percent from SR1,500 to SR800 and that of family mobile phones from SR500 to SR400. It also approved a reduction of peak-hour cell phone charges from SR1.20 to 95 halalas per minute, off-peak hour charges from SR1 to 50 halalas and short message charges from 50 halalas to 30 halalas per message.

Talking about personnel affairs, he said the company was studying to shift all its employees from civil service system to social insurance scheme. He also said that all company employees would receive good benefits as per a new structure and salary scale.

Source: Arab News

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06 March 2001 03:14:04 PM

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