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Brief History

The late King Abdulaziz - may Allah bless his soul - realized the importance of post and telecommunications and the necessity of using modern inventions in this sector to link the vast and remote areas of the Kingdom with each other. Accordingly, he issued a royal decree in 1345H (1926) for the establishment of the post, telegraphs and telephones (PTT) Directorate, affiliated to the office of the Deputy King, under the umbrella of the Kingdom’s internal affairs. Since then, the Saudi government has provided its support and paid special attention to this sector and its services. The following are the main milestones of the telecommunications sector throughout the history of the Kingdom:

2017

Eng. Abdullah Al-Swaha appointed as Minister of Communications

Eng. Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha has been appointed the Minister of Communications and Information Technology.

2016

Saudi Internet Exchange inaugurated

On 12/1/1438H (13/10/2016), the Saudi Internet Exchange was inaugurated.

2015

New Minister of Communications appointed

Dr. Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Suweil served as the Minister of Communications and Information Technology from 9/4/1436H to 25/7/1438H.

2014

New Minister of Communications appointed

Dr. Fahhad bin Mutad Al-Hamad served as the Minister of Communications and Information Technology from 16/2/1436H to 25/7/1438H
 

Licenses for mobile virtual network operators issued

In 1435H (2014), two licenses for mobile virtual network operators (Virgin and Lebara) were issued.

2011

First Universal Service Fund project commenced

In 1432H (2011), the implementation of the first Universal Service Fund project for remote areas commenced.

Integrated Telecom Company (ITC) underwent IPO

In 1432H (2011), the Integrated Telecom Company (ITC) underwent Initial public offering (IPO).
 

2009

Electronic Transactions Law went into effect

In 1430H (2009), the application of the Electronic Transactions Law was approved and international reports thereon were issued.

Atheeb Group (GO Telecom) commenced service provision

In 1430H (2009), Atheeb Group (GO Telecom) commenced the provision of its telecom services for the public.

Certification for NCDC and Government CAs issued

In 1430H (2009), the certification for the National Center for Digital Certification and Government CAs was issued.

2008

Implementing Regulations for Electronic Transactions Law issued

In 1429H (2008), the Implementing Regulations for the Electronic Transactions Law were issued.

Fixed telephony market liberalized

In 1429H (2008), the fixed telephone services market was opened and three new licenses were issued.

2007

Universal Service Fund established

In 1428H (2007), the Universal Service Fund was established to provide telecom services for remote areas.

National Spectrum Plan approved

In 1428H (2007), the National Spectrum Plan was approved.

License of third mobile phone operator issued

In 1428H (2007), the license for the third mobile phone operator "Zain" (Mobile Telecommunication Company Saudi Arabia) was issued.

Liberalization of fixed telephony approved

In 1428H (2007), the liberalization of the fixed telephone service was approved.

First National Communications and Information Technology Plan approved

In 1428H (2007), the First National Communications and Information Technology Plan (NCITP) was approved.

2006

Anti-Cyber Crime Law approved

In 1427H (2006), the Anti-Cyber Crime Law was approved.

Internet service restructured

In 1427H (2006), the Internet service was restructured and its responsibility was transferred from King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) to the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC).

3G mobile telecom service launched

In 1427H (2006), third generation (3G) of mobile telecommmunications service was launched.

2005

Saudi Arabia joined WTO

In 1426H (2005), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Provision of Easynet service commenced

In 1426H (2005), the provision of Easynet services commenced.

Mobily commenced provision of telecom services

In 1426H (2005), the second mobile phone operator "Mobily" (Etihad Etisalat Co.​) commenced provision of its telecommunications services. 

e-Government Program created

In 1426H (2005), the e-Government Program (Yesser) was established to be responsible for the electronic government transactions.

Information technology, mobile phone services liberalized

In 1425H (2004), the information technology services and mobile phone sector was liberalized and the license for the second mobile phone operator (Mobily) was issued.

2003

Information technology came under Saudi Communications Commission

In 1424H (2003), a Royal Order was issued, making the information technology services under the authority of the Saudi Communications Commission, to be the "Communications and Information Technology Commission" (CITC).

Ministry of PTT became Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

On 28/2/1424H (1/5/2003), the Royal Decree No. A/2 was issued, changing the name of the Ministry of Post, Telegraph and Telephone (MoPTT) to be the "Ministry of Communications and Information Technology." This change reflects the attention given by the Saudi government to the communications and information technology sector. The change also was aimed at the realization of the ambitious goals for the transformation of the Kingdom into an information-based society.

First Minister of Communications appointed

Eng. Mohamed Jamil bin Ahmed Mulla was appointed as the first Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and served from 3/3/1424H (5/5/2003) to 16/2/1436H (8/12/2014).

2002

STC underwent partial IPO

In 1423H (2002), 20% of the shares of the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) were offered for public subscription.

Regulations for Saudi Telecom Company issued

In 1423H (2002), the regulations for the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) were issued.

2001

Saudi Communications Commission created

In 1422H (2001), the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahad bin Abdulaziz, issued the Royal Decree No. (2/12) on 12/3/1422H (4/6/2001) and the Council of Ministers issued its Resolution No. 74 on 5/3/1422H (28/5/2001), approving the Telecommunications Act and the establishment of the Saudi Communications Commission. The name was later changed on 21/5/1422H (11/8/2001) to be the “Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC),” and CITC was commissioned with the regulation of the sector to ensure the provision of the best possible telecommunication services throughout the Kingdom by companies licensed in accordance with the Telecommunications Act.

1999

New Minister of PTT appointed

Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Qosaibi served as the Minister of Post, Telephone & Telegraph from 17/8/1420H to 2/3/1424H (26/11/1999-4/5/2003).

Internet service liberalized

In 1420H (1999), the sector of Internet service providers (ISP) was liberalized.

1997

Smart Data Transfer Network inaugurated

In 1418H (1997) the Smart Data Transfer Network was inaugurated in the Kingdom.

1996

Fiber-optic network operated

In 1417 H (1996) the fiber-optic cable network was operated in the Kingdom.

VSAT service operated

In 1417H (1996), the Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) service was operated.

1995

Mobile phone service inaugurated

In 1416H (1995), the mobile phone services came into operation in the Kingdom.

New Minister Of PTT Appointed

Dr. Ali bin Talal Al-Juhani served as the Minister of Post, Telephone & Telegraph from 3/3/1416H to 16/8/1420H (31/7/1995-25/11/1999).

1984

Operation of first fiber-optic network

In 1404H (1984), the first fiber optic network was operated.  In the same year, telecommunications centers and complexes were established all over the Kingdom.

1975

First Minister of Post, Telephone & Telegraph appointed

Dr. Alawi Darweesh Kayyal was appointed as the first Minister of Post, Telephone & Telegraph and served from 8/10/1390H to 2/3/1416H (7/12/1970-30/7/1995).

Ministry of Post, Telephone and Telegraph established

In 1395H (1975), and as a result of the growing significance of the role of telecommunications in the development and advancement of nations and states, a royal decree No. (A/236) was issued on 8/10/1395H (24/10/1975) for the establishment of the Ministry of Posts, Telegraphs and Telephones (PTT) to be in charge of both sectors of posts and telecommunications. The number of telephone lines at the time was not more than 130,000 lines, and the total revenues of this sector were around 250 million Saudi Riyals.

1969

International Telex circuits operated

In early 1389H (1969), the International Telex circuits were operated by extending the first microwave connection between Dammam and Bahrain.

1966

Inauguration Of Telephone Line With Tunisia

In 1386H (1966), the Minister of Transport, Mr. Mohamed bin Omar Tawfiq, inaugurated the telephone line between Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
 

1962

Usage of wireless devices regulated

In 1382H (1963), the Royal Decree No. 94 was issued with 52 articles regarding regulations for the usage of wireless devices in the Kingdom.

New Minister of Transport appointed

Mr. Mohammed bin Omar Tawfiq appointed Minister of Transport, 1382H (1962).

1961

New Minister of Transport appointed

Mr. Abdullah Saad Al-Qublan was appointed the Minister of Transport, 1381H (1961).

New Minister of Transport appointed

Mr. Mohammed Al-Marshad Al-Zughaibi, Minister of Transport, 1381H (1961).

1960

New Minister Of Transport Appointed

Telex entered service

In 1380H (1960), two Telex models entered service; "Lorenz 331" and "Siemens T 72-inch" (the first Arabic Telex machines).

1958

Telephone lines with India and Pakistan inaugurated

In 1377H (1958), H.R.H Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz inaugurated telephone lines between Saudi Arabia and both India and Pakistan.

1956

New Minister of Transport appointed

​H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz was appointed the Minister of Transport, 1375H (1956).

1955

Telephone lines with Egypt, other Arab countries inaugurated

In 1374H (1955), Late King Saud inaugurated telephone lines with Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, and with Principalities of Bahrain and Qatar in 1384H (1965).

1952

Ministry of Transport established

In 1372H (1953), Ministry of Transport was established and H.R.H. Prince Talal bin Abdulaziz was appointed the Minister of Transport. The telegraph, post and telephone facilities were annexed to the Ministry.

Wireless telephone network constructed

In 1371H (1952), the wireless telephone network was constructed in pursuance to the royal approval, to connect the different regions of the Kingdom.

1948

International wireless station established in Jeddah

In 1367H (1948), a royal order was issued for the construction of an international wireless station in Jeddah working directly with USA to serve telegraphic communications between the two countries.

1937

Telegraph Remittances Act approved

In 1356H (1937), the Telegraph Remittances Act was approved, including 24 articles.

Telegraph Act approved

In 1356H (1937), the Telegraph Act consisting of 40 articles was approved in pursuance to Royal Order No. 8762.

Telephone Act approved

In 1356H (1937), the Telephone Act consisting of 28 articles was issued, addressing telephone lines and work distribution.

1934

Telephone lines amounted to 854 lines

Until 1353H (1934), the number of hand-operated telephone lines were'nt over 854 lines, distributed to Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and Taif only.

Telephone service introduced

In 1353H (1934), telephone service was introduced in the Kingdom for the first time.

Saudi Arabia participated in the Post Conference

In 1353H (1934), the Kingdom participated in the Post Conference held in Cairo. During the conference, H.M. King Abdulaziz signed an agreement.

Automobile company established to deliver post

In 1353H (1934) the Ministry of Finance announced its plan to establish a joint-stock automobile company to deliver post.

Wireless stations constructed

In 1353H (1934), 22 wireless stations were constructed to connect 22 towns and villages in the Kingdom with telegraph services.

New postage stamps issued

In 1353H (1934), New postage stamps inscribed with “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” were issued and the usage of the previous ones was cancelled.

1932

Royal Order on postal parcels issued

In 1351H (1932), a Royal Order was issued to endorse issues relating to postal parcels processing.

Transportation of post commenced

In 1351H (1932), transportation of post commenced between Makkah and Riyadh.

PBX in Riyadh installed and operated

In 1351H (1932), the first PBX in Riyadh with 50-lines capacity was installed and operated in the Palace of Governance (Qasr Al-Hokm).

1931

First mobile wireless station arrived

In 1350H (1931), the first mobile wireless station arrived the Kingdom to provide telegraph services.

1930

First wireless communications school established

In 1349H (1930), H.M. Late King Abdulaziz approved the establishment of the first Wireless School in the Kingdom in Jeddah.

1927

First Directorate of PTT created

In 1345H (1926), the first Directorate of Post, Telephone and Telegraph (PTT) was created in Makkah.

1926

Submarine cable for international telegraph service laid down

In 1344H (1926), the Government supported expansion of international telegraph service via submarine cable across the Red Sea to connect Jeddah with Port Sudan. Port Sudan Conference was held for this purpose.

Wireless network construction commenced

Between 1344-1351H (1925-1932), the Government commenced construction of a wireless network.

First negotiations to procure wireless equipment

In 1344H (1925), the first negotiations were held with foreign companies to procure wireless equipment.

1925

Postage stamp commemorating Hajj/Pilgrimage issued

In 1343H (1924), a postage stamp was issued to commemorate the command of Late King Abdulaziz (Sultan of Najd at that time) to the Hajj/Pilgrimage trip. In the same year, stamps bearing the name of “Hijaz and Najd Post” were issued on this occasion.