Telephone Service

King Abdul Aziz was well aware that an efficient telecommunications system was essential to his plans for consolidating and developing the Kingdom and it was during his reign (in 1930 - 1348/49 AH) that the first telephone exchange was installed in Al-Dira.

In 1953 (1372/73 AH), the Ministry of Communications was formed and amongst its responsibilities, were post and telecommunications. Within a year, the Saudi Arabian Radio Telecommunication Scheme RT-1 was installed, providing a multi-channel telephone and telegraph network linking Riyadh, Dammam, Jiddah, the Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah, and Taif.

In 1977 (1397/98 AH), the Ministry of Post, Telegraphs and Telephones (which had taken over PTT responsibilities from the Ministry of Communications) embarked upon an ambitious plan to establish a modern telecommunications network, comprising telephone, telegraph and telex services, for the entire Kingdom.

In May 1998, Saudi Arabia's telecommunications services were privatized. The new company, known as the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC), had a capital of more than SR10 billion during the first phase. STC will become one of the Kingdom's largest employers, providing jobs for more than 70,000 Saudis.

In May 2003, the Ministry of Post, Telegraph and Telephones was renamed Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology.

By end of 2006, the number of fixed telephone lines rose to 4 million, of which 3 million lines (75%) were household telephones.

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