In an effort to curb terrorism, Saudi authorities have set a maximum for SIM cards you can get.
27 April 2017| Last updated on 10 September 2017
Saudi Arabia has put a limit on the amount of prepaid SIM cards citizens and foreigners can obtain. It’s been reported that this move prevents the use of these cards to carry out attacks on the Kingdom.
Expats are now restricted to two prepaid SIM cards across all operators and it’s applicable to both voice and data lines. On the other hand, Saudi citizens can have up to 10 prepaid SIM cards.
In a statement released to Bloomberg by Saudi’s Communications and Information Technology Commission, this is only a temporary process aimed at eliminating the large number of illegal SIM cards, which resulted in them being used for harmful acts against national security.
Telecom companies are already seeing the effects this new rule has on their shares. Etihad Etisalat, better known as Mobily, had its shares fall by 0.7 per cent, while Zain shares fell by 0.5 per cent. Even the biggest operator, Saudi Telecom Co, is already seeing a slight drop in gains.
Saudi Arabia is currently going through one of its worst economic slowdowns. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Kingdom will likely only have a 0.4 per cent expansion to its gross domestic product (GDP) this year. Last year, it was 1.4 per cent.
This economic slowdown is affecting both businesses and consumers. Mobily just recently reported a SAR163 million loss in its first quarter alone, in comparison with a SAR20 million profit last year at the same time.
This loss is being credited to pressure on sales as well as the disconnection of unregistered customers. The Saudi government had implemented a law last year requiring companies to fingerprint their clients, which helps to connect the right identity to the SIM card.