The telecommunications industry in Saudi Arabia is highly developed and has undergone rapid growth in recent years. Choosing the right Saudi Arabia mobile operators can be confusing given the many offerings. This guide provides a detailed overview of all Saudi Arabia mobile operators, their services, coverage and more to help you pick the operator that best meets your needs.

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I. List of Mobile Operators in Saudi Arabia

1. Main Mobile Network Operators in Saudi Arabia

STC (Saudi Telecom Company):

STC - On top Mobile Operators in Saudi Arabia

STC is the largest telecommunications service provider in Saudi Arabia, established in 1998. It owns the most extensive mobile network infrastructure, boasting nationwide coverage reaching even the remotest of areas. STC provides both fixed and mobile communication services, including internet, data, TV and enterprise solutions


Mobily - Best Mobile Operators in Saudi Arabia

Launched in 2005, Mobily has established itself as Saudi Arabia’s second largest mobile operator. Mobily offers a variety of prepaid and postpaid mobile plans catered towards different budgets and user profiles. Known for competitive pricing and constant promotions, Mobily attracts customers seeking affordable cellular packages and services without compromising on coverage.


Zain - One of the Best Mobile Operators in Saudi Arabia

Zain KSA focuses on providing excellent value, with a range of prepaid plans and data bundles starting from as low as $7.50 per month. It appeals to a wide customer base through advantageous rates and consistent loading bonuses for its subscribers. Zain KSA competes effectively on price while delivering widespread connectivity throughout the Kingdom.

2. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in Saudi Arabia

In addition to the three major mobile network operators, there are a few MVNOs that provide mobile services in Saudi Arabia:

  • Virgin Mobile – Launched in 2017 using Mobily’s network
  • Lebara – International MVNO available in Saudi Arabia since 2018 using Mobily
  • Friendi – Local MVNO launched in 2019 over STC’s network

These MVNOs lease network capacity from the main telecom operators to provide niche mobile services, usually at lower costs. However, their networks are not as extensive as the main operators.

II. How to Choose the Best Saudi Arabia Mobile Operators

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a Saudi Arabia mobile operators:

  • Coverage – The reach of an operator’s network where you live, work and travel is most important. STC has the widest coverage followed by Mobily and Zain.
  • Speeds – The operator offering the fastest and most reliable mobile data speeds in your usage areas. All networks now have 4G/LTE with expanding 5G rollout.
  • Plans & Pricing – Compare the plan costs and inclusions like data allowance, calls, texts etc. MVNOs like Virgin Mobile offer lower prices.
  • Customer Service – Quality of customer support channels and satisfaction ratings. STC generally ranks higher.

Analyzing these key parameters in line with your usage needs will ensure you pick the best operator. Don’t just go by advertisements – do your research.

III. Best Mobile Operators in Saudi Arabia – Detailed Comparison

Saudi Arabia has three main cellular service providers that dominate the telecommunications sector – STC, Mobily and Zain KSA. Here is an in-depth feature-by-feature comparison of the major Saudi mobile operators:

peratorCoverage & SpeedsEnglish SupportPrices & PlansOther Factors
STC– Widest nationwide coverage reaching virtually 100% of KSA 
– Fastest average 4G speeds across most cities
– Live chat and social media available in English 
– Limited English call center support
– Most expensive plans 
– Premium packages with high data limits
– Largest network infrastructure 
– Reliable connectivity but occasional slow speeds
Mobily– Coverage around 98% of KSA 
– Competitive 4G speeds in major cities and towns
– Website and essential info in English 
– Some call center agents speak English
– Most affordable plans 
– Good value packages for budget travelers
– Focuses on price
– Excellent customer service reputation
Zain KSA– Network spans 95% of the country 
– Fast speeds in high traffic areas
– Minimal English online resources or support– Competitive mid-range prices 
– Affordable data bundles and bonuses
– Emphasis on data packages and value 
– Known for fast and consistent connectivity

In summary, while STC has the widest coverage and infrastructure, Mobily and Zain offer competitive speeds and plans at more affordable prices. Mobily provides the best balance of coverage, value, and customer service overall for tourists.

IV. Where to Buy SIM Cards from Saudi Arabia Mobile Operators?

Here are some tips on where and how to easily purchase SIM cards from the major Saudi Arabia mobile operators:

  • At the airport: The international airports in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam have counters for the main operators like STC, Mobily and Zain where you can purchase SIM cards upon arrival. Look for signs or ask information desks.
  • Online official store: All operators have online stores on their websites where you can order a SIM card and have it delivered. STC, Mobily and Zain websites are in English. Make sure to get the address of your accommodation.
  • Operator stores: flagship stores are located in most major malls and commercial areas. Flagship STC stores have staff that speak English. Other operators may have limited English assistance.

When buying in-person, carry your local ID like Iqama for registration. Online purchases may require ID scans during registration. Both prepaid and postpaid connections are available.

V. Do Saudi Arabia Mobile Operators Offer eSIM?

Yes, the major Saudi Arabia mobile operators and a few MVNOs in Saudi Arabia now offer eSIM (embedded SIM) facilities alongside regular physical SIM cards.

  • STC was the first to launch eSIM capabilities in 2021. Postpaid customers can activate an eSIM profile through the STC app. eSIM supports voice, text and data.
  • Mobily introduced eSIM in early 2022. It can be activated for eligible prepaid and postpaid plans via the Mobily app and online account. Both physical and eSIM profiles can be used together.
  • Zain KSA rolled out eSIM for selected plans in mid-2022. The Zain app allows postpaid users to download and activate an eSIM profile on compatible devices.

If you’re looking for a hassle-free digital solution for staying connected in Saudi Arabia, consider purchasing an eSIM online from Their eSIM plans leverage Zain’s high-quality 4G LTE network, one of the largest networks in the country, allowing you to enjoy fast and reliable data coverage virtually anywhere in Saudi Arabia. offers the best near-local price eSIM starting at just $5


Who are the major mobile operators in Saudi Arabia?

The three largest mobile operators in Saudi Arabia are Mobily, Zain KSA, and stc (Saudi Telecom Company). Together they control almost the entire mobile market in the country.

What are the key differences between the operators?

The operators are quite comparable in terms of coverage and technology. The main differences are in pricing plans, bundled services, network quality in specific areas, and customer support/experience. Zain is considered the leader for cost-effective plans while Mobily focuses on premium customers. stc aims to provide the most consistent nationwide coverage.

How can I choose between the operators?

Factors to consider include coverage in your location, important features for your usage, cost of plans that meet your data/call needs, bundled entertainment/service options, reviews of customer service, and promotions or discounts being offered. Testing the networks yourself can also help determine which fits your needs best.

VII. Conclusion

Saudi Arabia boasts a highly advanced and competitive mobile market with the big 3 operators – STC, Mobily and Zain – at the forefront. STC emerges as the best overall operator based on its unparalleled coverage, fast speeds, quality customer service and value-added offerings. Mobily and Zain also provide excellent network connectivity and services across the Kingdom.

However, for international visitors, purchasing an affordable prepaid eSIM plan from is the most hassle-free option.