The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recognised the importance that the space and satellite sector has for its country and has largely expressed its vision to become a leader at regional level and globally. To achieve this goal, the Communication, Space & Technology Commission (CST) has implemented several improvements to the regulatory framework, to make it more transparent and easier to navigate. For example, in September 2022, it published the new “Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) regulations”, which replaced its previous regulatory documents, streamlining the procedures to obtain the licenses to provide satellite services in the Kingdom.
Among these changes, the CST published the “Regulation for Registration of Telecommunication Space Stations” to keep a national registry of the operators of foreign satellites providing capacity over the Kingdom. Although the Kingdom did not previously have landing right requirements, the new registration is designed to avoid the imposition of overcomplicated requirements while enabling the CST to strengthen the information about the operation of satellite services in Saudi Arabia. The process is done online, expected to take about 20 days, and there is no cost involved in the registration. Furthermore, in terms of expiration, the registration is done only once for the duration of the satellite life.
While the regulation was issued last September, it was during the last week of March 2023 that the online system was made available for all foreign satellite systems operators. Therefore, satellite operators currently providing capacity over the Kingdom, or those wishing to start providing it, are now required to enter the registry; likewise, all ground segment providers must ensure they are only procuring satellite capacity from duly registered foreign satellite systems operators.
If you are interested in knowing more about this registry, the registration process, or market access for the provision of ICT services in Saudi Arabia, please contact Juliana Ramirez or Sofia Tirini.