SAUDI ARABIA - Telecoms & IT
Ahmad Al Anqari brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Saudi technology and telecommunications sector. He spent his early years in the power sector as a computer engineer for the Saudi Electric Company (SEC) and as a network expert with the Saudi Telecom Company (STC). In 2006, he was appointed Vice-President for Engineering of Integrated Telecom (ITC), joining a leadership team which transformed ITC from a telco start-up to a leading Saudi telecom company with one of the region’s most established networks. In 2020, he was appointed Chief Technology Officer of ITC as the company expanded its fast-growing consumer business. The following year, ITC rebranded to Salam and launched the Kingdom’s newest mobile carrier service. The same year, Ahmad Al Anqari was appointed as the CEO of Salam, capping a distinguished 16-year career with the group.
TBY talks to Ahmed Al-Anqari, CEO of Salam, about the brand’s vision, its place in regional competition, and gaming in Saudi Arabia.
Why did Salam recently rebrand, and what is its vision moving forward?
Over the years, we built one of the region’s most extensive telecoms and IT infrastructures. This robust foundation has enabled us to grow from B2B and into homes and digital lifestyles. This has helped us accelerate our revenue growth and become one of the key growth leaders and innovation drivers in the Kingdom’s ICT market. Our new brand—Salam—was established to clearly signal our transformation from a B2B telco to a full service, human-centered technology company. Our new corporate theme, “Where you connect,” reflects our commitment to seamlessly connect not only businesses, but also people and things.
Salam is known to have one of the region’s most extensive telecom networks. How does this underlying strength differentiate you in the telecoms sector?
Salam is a unique Saudi success story. We are a locally founded Saudi company with our own high-capacity 19,000-km fiber network (Saudi National Fiber Network, SNFN) connecting all major cities in the Kingdom, as well as terrestrial gateways to key neighboring markets like Jordan, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Iraq and submarine cable landing stations in Al Khobar and Jeddah connecting us to the rest of the world. We also operate a number of internationally certified data centers enabling us and our partners to provide performant hosted and managed voice and data services. We have also built last mile infrastructures enabling us to bring our services to homes and organizations everywhere including fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and 5G fixed-wireless services. And recently, we just launched Saudi Arabia’s newest mobile carrier service, Salam Mobile. All these uniquely position us to grow our services and bring them closer to more customers in support of the Kingdom’s digital transformation journey and Vision 2030 goals.
Salam is pioneering the first and only 1GBps fiber connection in Saudi Arabia. Can you tell us more about this, and why Salam is so far ahead when it comes to fiber connectivity?
Our extensive network uniquely positions Salam to bring the fastest connection to neighborhoods virtually everywhere, allowing us to offer the first and only 1GBps fiber-optic connection to homes in Saudi Arabia. That’s twice the speed available in the market but it is not just about speed. With our new managed experience approach, we’re setting our customers free to experience a richer digital life without limits. And we’re working to add more layers of digital experiences and services on top for gamers, streamers, and families everywhere.
The Saudi telecoms sector is growing rapidly as new players enter the region’s largest telecoms market. What makes Salam so different?
Many new players are entering the Saudi market, all of them foreign brands, which again makes Salam truly unique and proudly inspiring. Unlike others we are a true home-grown Saudi success story, built on years of heritage, strong network foundations, and deep local roots. We are testament of what an innovative local company can achieve in this market. We are proud of this heritage and the rapidly growing role we play in Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation.
Salam just launched the G4M3R_PCK, the Kingdom’s first dedicated gamer pack with the potential to transform the gaming experience in Saudi Arabia. Can you elaborate on the potential of this segment?
Explosive growth in video gaming, coupled with changing dynamics in traditional revenue and ARPU for telcos, is putting a focus on gamers as a new growth frontier. Today, some 65% of the Kingdom’s population can be considered gamers, a vast segment straddling various age groups who play every day. With our underlying network, Salam is best positioned to deliver true real-time, low latency gaming. That’s why our new gamer pack is literally a game changer. It’s the first and only dedicated gamer package in the Kingdom with a free professional grade Nighthawk Netgear router used by hard core gamers, 300Mbps speeds, a dedicated port for each gamer at the back-end, free YouTube Premium subscription plus dedicated 24- hour gamer support—all part of our goal to deliver fully managed and richer experiences and not just high-speed connectivity as others.
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