The growth and expansion plan launched by stc Group at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century was not just dead letters, but rather a realistic strategy sought by the group as a result of the technical development witnessed in the region.
Over the past few years, the stc group has transformed from a mere company that provides communication and internet services to a digital enabler that is considered the most prominent in the Middle East region.
The comprehensive strategy launched by the group had the superlative role in endorsing digital transformation in the gulf region, as it sought to diversify investment opportunities. And during the past two years, it launched many subsidiaries in the fields of cybersecurity, the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, infrastructure, and 5G technologies that serve different gulf communities and support the digital transformation in the region.
Today, the market value of the stc group has reached more than 187 billion riyals and the value of the stc brand reached $10.6 billion, according to the Forbes magazine classification. Furthermore, the group obtained the most valuable brand certificate in the Middle East region in the telecommunications sector, according to the classification of Brand Finance International.
The success story of this development, growth, and accomplishments achieved by the group extended to become the main driving force of the communications and information technology sector for both Kuwait and the Kingdom of Bahrain. How did the group contribute to transforming the status of communications and information technology in the Gulf region?
The beginning of the group’s success story in the expansion and growth process was from Kuwait, where in 2008 it witnessed the birth of a new star that shone its light in the sky of communications, and its features emerged in its first steps to draw the shapes of a giant who will transfer the communications and information technology sector to a promising future.
During its first year, it attracted half a million customers in Kuwait, and within only 4 years it began to achieve profitable returns for investors, and the company’s official listing on the Kuwait Stock Exchange was one of the shapes of success and growth, as the volume of retained profits increased with the development of the company’s profits. It also acquired second place in terms of revenues and market share from the subscribers, afterwards, the achievements continued until it acquired a market share of about 36% of the sector’s revenues in 2021.
In the Kingdom of Bahrain, stc entered the telecom market in 2010 as the third telecom operator in the Kingdom. The group quickly became a major driving force towards achieving the digital transformation vision, as it captured 41% of the market revenues, and proved its strength in the competition to become the first operator in the mobile phone markets, carrier sector customers, and operators in the Kingdom of Bahrain, as well as the fastest performing company throughout the region and the first in developing local, regional and global networks, through continuous investments in infrastructure development. It was approved as the first commercial operator of the 5G network in Bahrain, in the field of cybersecurity, and cloud computing. The company also provided services outside the scope of communications, including financial services and insurance services at the highest levels, in order to keep up with the requirements of customers’ daily lives.
Contributing to Kuwait’s and Bahrain’s national visions
2019 witnessed the launch of the unified brand in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. The company also launched an updated and developed strategy that fits the company’s basic objectives during the subsequent years in 2019 to enhance the process of enabling the company’s digital transformation in line with the national visions in each country.
In Kuwait, the Kuwait strategic Vision 2035 seeks digital transformation among the many goals set by the state, to keep pace with the internet services at all levels. stc had a fundamental and vital role in accelerating the transformation process, as the company’s acquisition of Quality-net and its transformation into “solutions by stc” had a prominent role to be the active technical arm in enabling the business sector and supporting local projects. It announced the establishment of the 5G Innovation Center in 2019, with the aim of exploring, developing, and launching the uses of advanced 5G technologies. Moreover, it provided a range of digital solutions for companies that include data centers, infrastructure support, and applications for companies. In addition, stc introduced an IoT strategy that allowed companies to manage their resources more efficiently and make the most of their business models.
In Bahrain, stc contributed to supporting Bahrain’s economic vision for 2030. In terms of the business sector, the company developed a comprehensive range of information and communication technology products, including cybersecurity, asset tracking, data hosting, and cloud services to serve this sector. In terms of carriers and operators, the company has succeeded In consolidating its position as an empowered company in this field. It provided services to more than 400 national and international companies. The company also enhanced the customer service experience across all points of contact, as it always aimed to continue advancing the digital transformation in the Kingdom of Bahrain to become a digitally enabled society.
Future and growth and developing performance
Based on the company’s strategy and the promising projections of the institutional sector in Kuwait, the company undertook a major transformation process to meet the needs of customers and enrich their experiences in the information and communication technology field, which was highlighted in the company’s strategy “AHEAD”. The company was keen to improve its efficiency and internal capabilities in this sector through its acquisition of the entire capital of the Electronic Gate Holding Company in April 2022, to keep pace with the latest rapid global developments in the field of communications and information technology, and to provide the best integrated technical solutions to its individual and institutional clients. stc successfully completed its capital increase in 2022 to reach KD 99.9 million by distributing 100% bonus shares to its shareholders. During the third quarter of 2022, the stc market share reached 39.8% of the telecom sector’s revenues in Kuwait, for the first time since the company’s establishment, to be at the forefront of the telecom sector in terms of revenue.
In Bahrain, stc has invested more than $2 billion in developing digital infrastructure. The company has remained at the forefront of launching innovative services in Bahrain, even becoming the first operator to launch 5G technology across the Kingdom. stc Bahrain has also worked to develop its innovation center and its platform for developing modern technologies for various sectors and has also launched many digital services, including self-service machines (SSM), smart queue management service, and many other services, which contributed to providing an improved experience for customers by providing them with the opportunity to complete their transactions in a few seconds and in any time and place. The company launched a cyber security training academy, with the aim of raising awareness about potential cyber threats through its leading solutions in this field.
Investing in sustainability and social development
Since its establishment in Kuwait, stc has been able to achieve many contributions and achievements to support the local community and its social responsibility agenda. It succeeded in participating across various initiatives in cooperation with various government agencies and private sector institutions to small and medium-sized companies that aimed at supporting and empowering the Kuwaiti society to achieve sustainability in line with Kuwait Vision 2035. The company focused its efforts on key areas such as health, sports, education, entrepreneurship, and the environment. It launched several initiatives, such as the “Safe Education” campaign in cooperation with the Ministries of Education, Health, Interior, and Information, and the “Weyak” initiative to support local SMEs in enabling their digital transformation strategies.
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The company is keen to invest in the continuous development of its human resources, as they form the cornerstone of its outstanding performance. It is endlessly focused on providing education and development programs, as it has effectively launched its e-learning programs through many recognized international organizations, such as LinkedIn Learning and Gartner, to continue providing training and development opportunities for employees. The company also launched its training academy “Creativity Academy”, which seeks to empower employees with high potential.
Under the social responsibility umbrella, stc Bahrain worked to spread the culture of innovation to a level beyond the borders of its customers, as it launched the “Jussoor” program with the aim of empowering its community service. Moreover, it launched the “Trees for Life” initiative that aimed at supporting the Kingdom’s national plans in reforestation, with the purpose of doubling the percentage of trees in the Kingdom by 2035, and launched the “Kafu” program, which was shown during the holy month of Ramadan. It is a major initiative to highlight individuals and people who have been a source of inspiration in the Kingdom over the years. It also launched the “Fereej” initiative which means (the neighborhood), with the aim of investing in families who live in difficult conditions. The company worked to educate and develop Bahraini youth and provide unique opportunities for fresh graduates looking to enrich their careers inside and outside the company through its “ICT Generation” program, which was launched recently.