The Saudi Telecom Company
yesterday dashed the hopes of Internet users when it announced that it
has no plan to reduce local phone call charges. “There will not be
any cut in local phone charges,” said Saud ibn Majed Al-Dowaish,
STC’s vice president for regional affairs and client services.
interview with the Okaz newspaper, he said the company was trying to
strike a balance by raising the charges of local calls and slashing
the rates of inter-city and international calls. “We have a
long-term plan to unify local and international call charges,” he
STC increased local phone charges from 2.5 to five halalas per minute
and reduced the number of free local calls from 600 to 300 for three
that last week’s Cabinet decision was not to cut phone call charges.
“The Cabinet only gave the PTT and the Finance Ministry power to
reduce local and inter-city telephone charges,” he clarified.
means, to raise these charges they have to get Cabinet approval,” he
said. At the same time the Cabinet decision would quicken procedures
regarding reduction of local and inter-city calls in the future.
“The company can now do it with the approval of the two
ministries,” Dowaish said.
He said STC
would soon present a study to its board of directors to cut inter-city
charges. “At present the charges are fixed in accordance with
geographical distance,” he pointed out. The charge for calls to a
distance of less than 100 km is 20 halalas, from 100 km to 200 km 40
halalas, from 200 to 500 km 90 halalas, and above 500 km SR1.30 per
new changes in tariff are approved by the board and the two ministers,
the rates will be in tune with the recent cuts in mobile phone
charges,” Dowaish said. There are 3.1 million telephones and 1.5
million mobile phones in the Kingdom, he said, adding that a reduction
in connection charges helped increase mobile phone subscriptions in
the country. STC recently slashed mobile phone connection charges from
SR1,500 to SR800 and those for family mobile from SR500 to SR400.