One of the leading operators in Saudi Arabia is extending its LTE coverage to a further 5 cities across the Kingdom. STC’s LTE network now encompasses the cities of Abha, Dhahran, Khamis Mushayt, Madinah and Makkah.
The new cities join Al Ahsa, Al Khobar, Dammam, Jeddah, Jubail and Riyadh, meaning that 11 major cities are now connected. STC has stated that the network can be accessed from 600 hotspots within these cities, but that HSPA+ keeps the data speeds high outside of these specific points.
There has been a spate of LTE launches across the Middle East recently, with several operators claiming that they were the first to begin offering services in Saudi Arabia. Having conducted trials in 2010, STC maintains this claim, but is challenged by Zain, Mobile and Etisalat.
STC is fractionally behind market leader Etihad Etisalat, but the difference in subscriber figures is very slight – STC has a market share of 39.76%, just 0.04% behind Etisalat.