Phones and Internet services in Saudi Arabia

Updated 2022-02-23 09:02

If you are moving to Saudi Arabia, you will probably need a phone and an internet connection. Take a look at how to navigate the country's telecommunication networks.

Nowadays, it's safe to say that telecommunication is an essential part of our lives, in that it helps us to keep in touch with the outside world. Deciding to move to Saudi Arabia means that you most likely will be leaving your family and friends back home. Distance is always made easier with easy access to telecommunication services. The good news is that in Saudi Arabia, it is widely available nationwide, and the providers are more than happy to get you set up.

All forms of telecommunication that you are accustomed to are available. Landlines, mobile phones, data packages and internet can all be found from one of the providers listed below.

Setting up a landline/internet services in Saudi Arabia

Getting set up is very easy, and you have nothing to worry about. All you need to do first is decide what you would like to get and what options are best suited for you. Once you have made a decision, visit your nearby telecommunications office or storefront to get started. Make sure to bring the following documents with you:

Each provider offers its own rates and packages, so shopping around before settling on something is a good idea. Ask your landlord or neighbors what provider is already set up in your apartment compound to fasten the set-up process.

In general, contract lengths are negotiable and will play a part in the overall fee. But all the companies offer contract-less service, so there is no need to worry about penalties. Your bill, which is issued monthly, can be settled via online banking or at any of the respective telecommunication offices.

Keep in mind that prepaid packages are very favorable in Saudi Arabia; they tend to be the most cost-efficient packages.

Internet in Saudi Arabia

The major Internet providers in Saudi Arabia are STC, Mobily, and Zain. They all operate 4G networks and provide reliable, speedy internet services. Depending on your personal needs, each company caters to a wide range of available options.


In 2019, STC and Ericsson signed a deal to launch 5G services across Saudi Arabia. At present, the 5G network is available in most major cities. In fact, Riyadh was ranked as the sixth fastest capital in the world in 5G network performance in the first half of 2021 — with the average download speed reaching 384.66 Mbps.

Mobile phones in Saudi Arabia

Lately, Saudi Arabia has introduced a range of mobile service providers into the Kingdom. An industry once dominated by three leading telecommunication companies now offers a wider range of competitors.

Mobile phone services offer packages, phone deals, and contracts. In Saudi Arabia, there are two types of service plans: billed or prepaid.

Billed service plans are contracts between the user and the company that offers the service, and payment is billed and settled monthly. These contracts tend to have certain durations attached, and if the contract is broken, you might have to pay penalty fees. The ease of being billed monthly is a nice feature and something most expats are used to.

The prepaid service plans are contract-less, and the user is responsible for 'recharging' the phone for usage. This is the most common type of service in Saudi Arabia and has become very popular amongst expats. All prepaid service plans entitle you to a fixed airtime, number of text messages, as well as data transmission. You can recharge your account through scratch cards. Make sure you read your contract before signing so as to know when you will be allowed to terminate your subscription without penalty.

The prepaid plan, for its part, allows you to recharge your phone credit whenever you want through scratch cards, at bank counters or ATMs, or on the service provider's website. You can also purchase a smartphone at your service provider's outlet.

For mobile internet connection, it is best to subscribe to either Mobily or Zain. Note that you will be required to produce your Iqama.

Social media in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest rates for social media usage, and according to some statistics, even the highest in the world. With 68% of the population active online, e-commerce is thriving in the country.

YouTube is the most popular social media platform in the country, counting over 30 million active users. YouTube is followed by Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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