M2M/IoT market in Saudi Arabia is growing rapidly with subscriptions increasing at CAGR of 19.1% over 2020-2025. In fact, CITC issued IoT-VNO licences to MachinesTalk and Dawiyat Integrated in March 2020 to target verticals such as smart monitoring, logistics, and transportation.

With opportunities in applications such as assets management, smart metering, fleet tracking, remote monitoring, and mobile point of sales, cellular M2M/IoT subscriptions will grow from a 14.1% share of total mobile subscriptions in 2020 to 26.3% in 2025. For example, telecom operator Mobily and Al-Fanar Construction partnered with the Saudi Electricity Company to deploy 10 million smart meters by March 2023.

The M2M/IoT sector in Saudi Arabia has been growing as a result of several government initiatives like the Saudi National Industrial Development and Logistics Program that focuses on Industry 4.0, smart city and smart metering solutions. According to the country’s telecoms regulator, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), the top adopted M2M/IoT solutions are CCTV, fleet management, freight monitoring, staff identification, and digital signage. The onset of 5G ubiquity will also broaden the appeal of M2M/IoT solutions, as 5G offers unparalleled speeds, latencies, and opportunities.

Telcos are well-positioned to provide the required connectivity to support the M2M/IoT solutions as well as the related devices and supporting technologies. For example, incumbent STC will provide 5G connectivity for smart city NEOM. The operator will also explore 5G applications such as virtual and augmented reality, smart home, and autonomous vehicles as well as operate an innovation center in Neom.

It is also worth mentioning that telecoms regulator CITC awarded two new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) licenses in February 2021. The licenses were issued to Integrated Telecom Mobile Company (ITC Mobile), which is now known as Salam, and Future Networks Communications Company. Both MVNOs could contribute to further boosting the M2M/IoT market if they enter this space.