Saudi Telecom eyes global top 10 status

STC says customer numbers more than 160m across 11 countries of operation
STC has global ambitions.
STC has global ambitions.

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Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has announced that it has now surpassed 160 million customers across its operations in 11 countries.

Saud bin Majed Al-Daweesh, CEO of STC Group, said its revenues grew to SR56bn by the end of 2011 from SR34bn five years ago.

He said the company was still keen on growing operations around the globe to become one of the world's top 10 telecom operators.

He added that STC Group profitability had also grown to SR20bn from SR16bn in the same period.

Out of more than 160 million subscribers, the company had 34 million customers in the Saudi domestic market, Al-Daweesh said in a statement, adding that the figure had risen from 18 million five years ago.

The company also said that its 4G coverage would surpass 65 percent across Saudi Arabia by the end of 2012, and to 90 percent by the end of 2014.

Al-Daweesh said the STC Group will connect more than half a million houses with FTTH technology by the end of 2012, then to more than 1 million houses by the end of 2014.

Last month, Saudi Telecom Co saw its fourth-quarter net profit edge down 0.3 percent as foreign currency losses hit its annual income, but the operator still beat forecasts.

The former monopoly holder made a net profit of SR2.28bn ($608m), compared with SR2.29bn a year earlier, it said in a statement posted on the bourse website.

It attributed a 19 percent decrease in net income for the 12-month period to SR7.7bn "to foreign currency exchange fluctuation losses amounting to approximately SR1.1bn".

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