Gulf telcos flexing investment might amid drive to become global brands


Al-Monitor Pro Members


Samuel Wendel

Senior Market Research Analyst, Al-Monitor


April 28, 2024

Bottom Line:

After investing billions into Europe in 2023, Gulf telecom giants are dialing up more moves: Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund announced on April 22 that it will pay $2.3 billion for a 51% stake in Telecommunication Towers Company, or Tawal, a subsidiary of Saudi Telecom Company (STC). That provides a balance sheet boost for STC, potentially paving way for more dealmaking. Case in point: reports surfaced on April 24 that STC may bid on a unit of Spanish mobile phone tower operator Cellnex. These moves play into a larger plan to turn the state-backed telco into a global player amid Riyadh’s sprawling economic diversification drive, with STC tasked with helping develop the kingdom’s digital economy. Simultaneously, Emirati rival e& (formerly Etisalat) is also making similar moves to reinvent itself as a global technology player and investor. 

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