M-Government: Challenges and Key Success Factors – Saudi Arabia Case Study

M-Government: Challenges and Key Success Factors – Saudi Arabia Case Study

Mubarak S. Almutairi (King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-015-0.ch006
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In developing countries like the Saudi Arabia, due to high mobile phone penetration rates, any electronic government initiatives that don’t take mobile technology into account will eventually fail. While the number of landline phones and internet subscribers are growing steadily over the past few years, the number of mobile phone users and its penetration rates are skyrocketing. In the near future and with the many mobile phone features, mobile phones will remain the main media of communication and a main source for providing information to citizens and customers.
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Mobile Phone Market

According to Wireless Intelligence, the Middle East has surged to become the second-fastest growing mobile phone market in the world. With penetration set to cross the 50% mark, over 150 million handsets in circulation and a 30% growth rate in 2006, the Middle East is now only trailing Africa as the fastest-growing market. Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia represent almost 70% of total connections in the Middle East. In these markets, the average market penetration is around 67%, which is above the average market penetration rate for the region (50%). Saudi Arabia is the second biggest market in the Middle East; it represents about 15% of total connections in the region. At the end of 2006, Saudi Arabia passed the 20 million connections mark, and the market is expected to grow by almost 30% each year.

Saudi Arabia with a population of 23 million already comprises the largest telecommunications markets in the Arabian Gulf and is one of the fastest growing in the Middle East. The sector which has some 4 million fixed lines and 20 million mobile lines has been expanding at a rate of 30% a year.

The acceleration in services has been boosted by deregulation and partial privatization of the national telecoms provider Saudi Telecommunications Company. This was sealed in a 2003 initial public offering of 30% of the latter's shares. Prior to this the government had liberalized the sector and opened it up to foreign investment and competition.

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