In our latest look at the Saudi Arabia mobile market, STC carried out the impressive feat of winning all our seven mobile experience awards. This was possible because STC recorded huge improvements in our Games Experience award category — the only measure where STC lagged behind Mobily in our previous report. However, that does not mean that the competition is standing still. In fact, our Mobily users observed significant improvements across most measures of the mobile experience, and the difference in the two operators’ scores reduced in three metrics — Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience and 4G Availability — and just 0.9 points separated the two in Video Experience. On the other hand, Zain is following behind STC and Mobily across all our award metrics, except for 4G Coverage Experience, where Zain placed second and ahead of Mobily.
However, some of the latest news suggests that things could likely change significantly in our future mobile experience reports. In fact, Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has given in-principle approval to Mobily and Zain to merge their tower infrastructure under a new entity, which will provide wholesale infrastructure services to the two companies. Such a deal could very likely result in significant changes to our users’ mobile experience and possibly make it easier for Mobily and Zain to challenge STC for the mobile experience leadership position.
Moreover, CITC has announced its plans to release additional spectrum in the coming months and years, suggesting we have further reasons to expect that Saudi Arabia’s mobile experience will keep evolving in our next reports.
In this report, we have analyzed the mobile network experience on the three national mobile operators — Mobily, STC and Zain — at the national level in the 90 days starting January 1, 2021 and ending on March 31, 2021. We have used 5G measurements in addition to those from previous generations of mobile network technology when determining the overall scores for each metric.