In the name of Allah; the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
During 2021, stc Group has achieved multiple successes and its technical capabilities have proven that the Group is the key digital enabler in the region. To keep pace with the demand for various digital services, stc has introduced a range of innovative technologies to meet the customer need at the retail and corporate levels. stc has achieved a remarkable success in various sectors, including 5G network, artificial intelligence, data analysis, the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, etc. It has embraced entrepreneurs and supported their projects for a promising future.
In a step forward on the path to be a leading regional digital service hub, stc has implemented several projects, including the largest data centers in the Middle East that came in line with the Kingdom’s sustainability objectives and included the Digital Operation Control Center as the largest integrated operating center of its kind in the region. Such centers were designed to secure an ecosystem of data and voice transmission services and solutions for all target segments, enabling the digital transformation of the public and private sectors in order to enhance the cloud infrastructure of the local digital economy.
Cybersecurity was part of our focus in 2021, with stc launching sirar by stc as a technical arm in this field to support our strategy of developing new paths and enabling digital transformation. sirar by stc has developed its services and adopted the best practices in cybersecurity management and sharing of proactive information on cyber threats and attacks.
The group continued its lead in 2021 as the core credit rating of the group has risen from A2 to A1, with Moody's giving stc an A1 rating on the long term. stc has also ranked first on the Brand Finance’s annual IT Brand Value Ranking for the Middle East and Africa as its brand value grew by 16% to reach $10.6 billion, leading the IT sector in the Middle East with the strongest value for the second year in a row.
There is no doubt that such advanced ranks have been the fruit of continued growth over the past years and our commitment to the values and strategy, and our innovative solutions and services.
At the 5G level, the Group developed 5G coverage and successfully deployed 5G networks on a larger scale. During pilgrimage season, stc managed to increase its network capacity in the Holy Sites by 48%. We also supported the Hajj smart bracelet service (Nusk) in cooperation with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to digitally monitor the health of pilgrims. The Group stood out during the stc Formula 1 Saudi Grand Prix. We provided the largest 5G coverage for this global event. stc has also worked to enhance the experience of Riyadh Season visitors and provide them with the best 5G network coverage in the Kingdom in terms of speed, data capacity and coverage scope.
In fintech, stc pay proceeded with its successful contribution to empowerment of the fintech sector. This successful campaign culminated with the Council of Ministers’ resolution to approve stc pay transformation into a bank. The Group provides full support for the financial sector development program; one of the crucial programs to achieve the Kingdom's vision and keep pace with the global developments in this sector.
As part of our sustainability strategy, the Group has launched its second sustainability report to have a greater strategic role as an enabler of digital transformation. This would have a positive environmental impact and would support social development by aligning the company's business through adoption of the best responsible practices to raise standards in the ICT sector.
Our commitment to promoting local content has been highlighted, with contribution of the Group’s “Rawafed” program hitting more than 18 billion Saudi riyals. With this contribution, the Group aimed to raise the proportion of local content, support localization of the industry and establish new industries in the Kingdom, attract suppliers to localize supply chains and operations, and develop and improve local innovation plans through training and learning in order to make a qualitative shift in the Saudi economy and increase the gross domestic product.
As part of its efforts to support and develop the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the KSA, support innovation and improve the digital economy in the technological fields, stc has continued to support entrepreneurship, enable innovation, and support innovators. The investments made by entrepreneurs under InspireU program edged up to more than 500 million Saudi riyals. Since its inception in 2015, the program has supported 75 start-ups in various fields, with more than 40 million users utilizing InspireU's pilot projects which provided more than 600,000 participatory jobs in the local market. This underlines our commitment to contributing to promote the digital economy, creating jobs, and transforming entrepreneurs' ideas into real projects.
The year of 2021 was full of achievements and successes, as the Group won many different awards, including the Speedtest Award for the fastest and best mobile network coverage in the Kingdom. It also won the fastest mobile internet and mobile coverage in the Kingdom for the fifth year straight. All the awards won by the group underscore our commitment to offer the best services to our customers, raise the efficiency of services and provide an ideal customer experience.
In conclusion, I would like to thank you for your trust and support. I would like also to assure you that stc Group is moving ahead in a steady pace to enhance its local and regional leadership and global reputation and to play its pivotal role as a leading digital enabler for transformation in the Kingdom in accordance with the objectives of the KSA Vision 2030.
Eng. Olayan Mohammed Alwetaid
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)