[arabian business] The boss of Saudi’s Mobily has predicted that mobile internet services will take over from traditional fixed line routes as the most common means of accessing the web.
Speaking on the sidelines of the MEDCOM 09 conference in Abu Dhabi, the CEO adn managing director of the second largest phone operator in Saudi, Khalid Al Kaf said he envisioned each household using a number of GSM lines to download internet content, rather than using just one fixed line.
“May be at Mobily we have a different view from many other operators in the region, but we strongly believe that mobile broad band will thrive,” he said during the conference on Monday.
“It will supercede the fixed line narrow band services such as dial up and ADSL.”
Al Kaf’s views contrast starkly with those of the UAE's Etisalat, which owns a 26.25 percent share in Mobily.
On the same day Etisalat’s president for consumer marketing, Khalifa Al Shamsi, told the UAE daily The National that the firm did not want to encourage mobile internet access as a replacement for fixed lines.
His comments came on the back of an announcement that Etisalat was offering greater high-speed mobile access without any extra costs.
However, the packages had a 10 GB download limit, with a AED30,000 fine for customers who broke the barrier, effectively preventing high-bandwidth applications such as movie down loads and streaming TV.
“Less than 1 per cent of our users go beyond 10gb. But we do not encourage it to be used as a replacement for a fixed line, because it is fixed-line where we can deliver truly unlimited access,” Al Shamsi said.
“If you want multimedia, streaming and full downloads, that is for the home lines. Mobile broadband is for full mobility and flexibility. We don’t want a small minority of users to affect the experience of the full customer base,” he added.
Mobily saw a 47 percent rise in first quarter net profit this year, hitting the SAR480m ($128m) figure in the three months to Mar 31, up from SAR326m ($87m) in the year-earlier period, it said in a statement.
Increased sign-up among rural communities, outside of Saudi 20 main cities, plus packages designed for different groups such as Filipino and Indian expats had been behind the increase, Al Kas revealed.
Mobily said in July it had a 39 percent market share with 11.1 million subscribers.
Mobile internet access to replace fixed lines - Mobily