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STC details 16-facility data centre strategy

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STC is building "the largest data centre project in the Middle East" – and also tying up with Huawei to manufacture data centre equipment in Saudi Arabia.

In total, the data centre project will deliver 16 facilities with 17,000 storing units serving eight parallel sites across six cities. The maximum capacity is expected to reach 125MW, according to STC.

The project consists of three phases: three data centres in Riyadh, Jeddah and Medina in phase one; four in the second phase; and the remaining nine in the third phase. Locations were not shared for phases two and three.

Confirming the pipeline STC said: "With the Middle East region seeing a paradigm shift in development and improvement of digital infrastructure, STC has played a pivotal role in accelerating the stages of this digital transformation and adopting emerging technologies that have promoted growth and maturity of digital-enabling cloud services across the region.

"STC's overall strategy has underlined the need to boost its position as a leading digital cloud enabler in the region by launching a global data centre project. Through this project, the group aims to improve and provide a world-class management of its cloud infrastructure and technical, security and communication services."

The new facilities follow a series of announcements from STC over recent months, including MENA Hub, a $1 billion hub for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It connects three continents and the project will see investments in fibre networks and the installation of "highly efficient cables".

STC has made a series of announcements over the last year as it doubles down on the business opportunities driven by digitalisation.

Just over a year ago, STC said it would develop three data centres in Riyadh, Jeddah and Al-Madina, with an investment of $266.6 million (SAR 1 billion) to host telecommunications equipment and digital cloud infrastructure, offering higher availability to its customer.

In November STC said it would invest S$400 million to build the "largest cloud-enabled data centre in the region", then in February of this year came the news that STC would establish a newco focused on data centre hosting and international and regional connectivity.

Only yesterday STC and its majority shareholder the Public Investment Fund (PIF) said it would launch an IoT company as a joint venture.

In addition to the regional and global connectivity boost this will provide, STC said that in addition to the regional and global connectivity boost it wants to localise Saudi Arabia's ICT sector. As such STC has signed an agreement with Huawei to explore the possibility of bringing a local facility to the Kingdom for data centre manufacturing, which would allow it to provide data centre equipment locally and at a lower cost.