Saudi Arabia Communications - 2021


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Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 5,377,978

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 15.97 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 27

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 41,298,629

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 122.66 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 37

Telecommunication systems

general assessment:

one of the most progressive telecom markets in the Middle East; mobile penetration high, with a saturated market; mobile operators competitive and meeting the demand for workers, students and citizens working from home; Huawei partners with operator to provide 5G to dozens of cities; broadband is available with DSL, fiber, and wireless; mobile penetration is high; restrictive monarchy places limits on information and services available online; authorities operate extensive censorship and surveillance systems; major importer of broadcasting equipment from UAE and China (2020)


domestic: fixed-line 16 per 100 and mobile-cellular subscribership has been increasing rapidly to 121 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 966; landing points for the SeaMeWe-3, -4, -5, AAE-1, EIG, FALCON, FEA, IMEWE, MENA/Gulf Bridge International, SEACOM, SAS-1, -2, GBICS/MENA, and the Tata TGN-Gulf submarine cables providing connectivity to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia and Australia; microwave radio relay to Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, and Sudan; coaxial cable to Kuwait and Jordan; satellite earth stations - 5 Intelsat (3 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean), 1 Arabsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Indian Ocean region) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

broadcast media are state-controlled; state-run TV operates 4 networks; Saudi Arabia is a major market for pan-Arab satellite TV broadcasters; state-run radio operates several networks; multiple international broadcasters are available

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 30,877,318

percent of population: 93.31% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 26

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 6,801,949

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 20.2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 27

Communications - note

the innovative King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (informally known as Ithra, meaning "enrichment") opened on 1 December 2017 in Dhahran, Eastern Region; its facilities include a grand library, several museums, an archive, an Idea Lab, a theater, a cinema, and an Energy Exhibit, all which are meant to provide visitors an immersive and transformative experience

NOTE: The information regarding Saudi Arabia on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Saudi Arabia 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Saudi Arabia 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.