Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) have reportedly increased data pack prices by up to 50 percent.
According to a report by the Saudi Gazette, a local newspaper said it noticed last week a halt in sales of data cards, especially for 600 and 300 gigabytes and analysts said it was in preparation for increasing the prices.
A representative from the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) have reportedly been contacted to find out whether the price hike was authorised but he did not respond.
Ibrahim Al-Asheikh, chairman of the Communications and Information Technology Committee at Asharqia Chamber, said the new price hike had no legal support or precedent. “It reflects the market monopoly led by the main telecom service provider with the support of other companies, and it shows they can increase the prices at any time they wished,” Al-Asheikh told the newspaper.
He urged the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to intervene to protect consumers from the unauthorised price hikes.
Al-Asheikh further urged the General Authority for Competition to take necessary steps to ensure fair competition in the market and confront the monopoly of a small group who increases prices to unreasonable levels for extending poor Internet services.
Experts have noted that Saudi telecom companies could be looking for an opportunity to hike prices and they used the introduction of VAT and the expat levy as an opportunity.
He stressed the need to confront this price hike in order to prevent similar hikes in the future. He also called for greater investment in the telecom sector to provide competitive services.
The STC charges SAR 100 for 10 gigabytes data pack for a month, SAR 200 for 300 gigabytes for two months, SAR 500 for 300 gigabytes for three months and SR350 for unlimited service per month.
Mobily provides 5 gigabytes for three months charging SR90, 10 gigabytes for three months with WiFi device for SR545, 300 gigabytes for 3 months for SR450, 600 gigabytes for six months with WiFi device for SR775, and 20 gigabytes monthly for six months for SR530.
Zain offers a similar package. It charges SR45 for 2 gigabytes for a month, SR65 for 5 gigabytes for a month, SR119 for 10 gigabytes for 3 months, SR199 for 50 gigabytes for 3 months, SR299 for 200 giga bytesfor 3 months and SR325 for unlimited data a month.