In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Dear stc Shareholders,
Peace be upon you and Allah's mercy and blessings,
In the middle of challenges lie opportunities. So, stc Group has made sure that its strategic plans are in line with the challenges that the industry is facing globally in parallel with the digital information revolution and the conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic during the year 2020. Therefore, our positive performance throughout the year was a real test of the strength of our strategy and our capabilities as a digital enabler for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This is evidenced by our effective contribution to the success of the extraordinary G20 summit hosted by the Kingdom amid huge global challenges. Through our digital partnership for the summit and our cooperation with the Saudi Secretariat of the G20, we succeeded in providing the main telecommunications services to enable digital services for all summit meetings. In this regard, stc contributed to the expansion of the 5G network by 130% to absorb the increase in digital services during the summit.
What the world witnessed in light of the exceptional circumstances and measures in 2020 due to the emerging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, motivates us on a daily basis to boldly develop our strategy to harness all our capabilities to deal with different circumstances in all vitality and in a manner consistent with the position of the Company. Therefore, during the year, we took the initiative to enhance communication services, raise communication capacity, and urgently provide services to a number of entities to enable the digital transformation of all sectors. During the first days of the pandemic, we provided 40,000 free Internet slides for the Digital Giving Initiative, to enable those who cannot access the Internet, and for the educational platforms, and provided access to some educational and health platforms for free. The Company also announced its support through bearing the temporary service discontinuation fees for small and medium enterprises to alleviate the potential financial effects on this vital sector. In addition, the payment deadline for customers has been extended and the data capacity doubled for free for stc current or new customers in order to support the educational process and enable employees of the government and private agencies to continue their work in light of the precautionary measures taken by the Kingdom. In line with its social responsibility, the Company has also contributed to broadcasting more than 2 billion awareness messages to curb the spread of Corona virus, using ten different languages.
The Company has also paid particular attention to the long-term requirements of sustainable development. In this respect, stc's sustainability framework has been prepared based on seven (7) main performance areas that are in line with the Company's strategy, "Dare". In launching its first sustainability report, the Company has strategically focused on ambitiously contributing to a sustainable future. These areas include: doing business with integrity, enhancing economic impacts, enriching lives and experiences, expanding access to technology and communication, promoting innovative digital opportunities, caring for the environment, in addition to empowering manpower. These principles were represented by the launching of the "stc Chair for Artificial Intelligence" at the King Saud University, which aims to promote innovation and digital solutions in vital areas such as sustainability, data analysis, and cybersecurity. The chair is expected to represent an incubator for innovation, scientific research, and development in the field of artificial intelligence, which contributes to enriching academic studies and research, as well as contributing to providing sustainable solutions that have an impact on society, the economy, and the environment.
In the area of growth in unconventional paths within our strategy in this regard, we have succeeded through stcpay company in supporting and developing the financial sector in the Kingdom, prompting international companies of the size of Western Union to buy a 15% ownership stake in the amount of SAR 750 million (USD 200 million), making stcpay company the first billionaire (unicorn) company in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. In continuation of the Company's progress at the local and global levels, stc Group was re-elected to the Board of Directors of the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) after the Company won the elections for the Board, which includes the largest and most important 25 telecommunications companies in the world, thus becoming the first Saudi company to attain and maintain this achievement. Meanwhile, stc's election comes in recognition of its position as a leader in digital transformation and a reflection of the prominent influence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in global and regional policy-making regulating the telecommunications sector, which is in line with the strategies and directions of the telecommunications sector in the Kingdom, in accordance with Vision 2030.
Finally, in recognition of the unlimited support provided by our wise leadership, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, and to the Crown Prince HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Their tremendous support of the communications and information technology sector in the Kingdom contributed to its development and growth, and to the improvement of its infrastructure in record time, thus helping achieve digital transformation in line with the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030. Many thanks also to our esteemed shareholders for their trust and continuous support for the board, to our valued customers who are our success partners, and to my colleagues in the Group inside and outside the Kingdom for their hard work to ensure the continued success of the Group.
Peace be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.
Prince Mohammed bin Khalid Abdullah Al Faisal
Chairman of the Board of Directors