Telecoms operators and internet service providers (ISPs) in Saudi Arabia have signed an open access agreement that will guarantee the availability of fibre to the home (FTTH) services through any selected provider within the Kingdom.
The chief executive officers of STC, Mobily, Zain, Etihad Atheeb Telecom (Go), Integrated Telecom Company (ITC) and Integrated Dawiyat met in Riyadh on to sign the agreement, witnessed by senior representatives from the country’s telecoms regulatory body, the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC).
“The adoption of an open access model will increase the use of our fibre-optic infrastructure through the development of commercial agreements that make it easier for subscribers to move from one provider to another,” said Dr Mohammed Al Tamimi, governor of the CITC.
Saudi Arabia has an internet penetration rate of 93 per cent, but the agreement will dramatically boost the availability of next generation FTTH fixed line connectivity in the Kingdom.
According to figures published by the FTTH Council, Saudi Arabia currently has more than 900,000 FTTH subscribers and plans are in place to pass an additional 3.5 million properties by the end of 2020. Saudi Arabia currently has an FTTH take up rate of 41.8 per cent, meaning that 41.8 per cent of people who are able to access FTTH services opt to do so. In the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, that figure is as high as 98 per cent, whereas in Oman it is just 22.6 per cent. Overall, the Middle East and North Africa region has an FTTH take up rate of 55.5 per cent.