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Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Old Jul 25th 2020, 10:20 am
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Default Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Hi all

Seeking some advice. I had 2 conversations related to a manager position with a telco in Saudi. Now, moving was a very distant thought and still is, but wondering if there are any thoughts on the subject. Talking about a wife and three kids. Also, is it really viable to move to Saudi during the pandemic?


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Old Jul 25th 2020, 11:42 am
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

"telco" what is that ?
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Old Jul 25th 2020, 12:26 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Telco is a telecommunications company, e.g the Saudi version of Vodafone or Three.

Saudi telcos should be fine. However, it depends on what your specialisation/career field is.
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Old Jul 25th 2020, 2:02 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Well, infrastructure is my background and they are building it all over the place.
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Old Jul 25th 2020, 5:55 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Any thoughts on the subject? Sure:

1. If you'll be SAVING (not earning) considerably more than you can in the UK, it may be worth considering.
2. Even if (1) is met, it may not be worth a much more staid, dull, restricted life for yourself or especially your family.
3. Your kids' schooling may be of a lower standard.
4. Your wife may not find work, or be allowed to work.
5. Despite great changes in the last decade, it's still a dump compared to almost anywhere else.
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Old Jul 25th 2020, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Completely anecdotal but a good German friend of mine worked for a German telecom company that was tied up with Mobily. He was also specialising in infrastructure. He was here for 17 years until it ended.

2 things that happened.

1)Saudisation quota. For the last year he was effectively training his replacement.

2)Huawei. They came in and undercut everyone else to get the contracts.

So based on that I would be clear about having an exit plan until you know the lie of the land.

Leave your family at home for at least six months, before they join you.
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Old Jul 25th 2020, 7:45 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Also, how old are the kids? My kids lived here for 6 years and on the whole they enjoyed it , and still enjoy a Yemeni breakfast to this day. However , I think as the kids get older, past 11 say, they're better off elsewhere, especially girls.
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Old Jul 25th 2020, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Thanks guys. Enlightening thoughts.

Originally Posted by nonthaburi View Post
Also, how old are the kids? My kids lived here for 6 years and on the whole they enjoyed it , and still enjoy a Yemeni breakfast to this day. However , I think as the kids get older, past 11 say, they're better off elsewhere, especially girls.
Kids are young. The eldest starting school this Sept.

Originally Posted by nonthaburi View Post
Completely anecdotal but a good German friend of mine worked for a German telecom company that was tied up with Mobily. He was also specialising in infrastructure. He was here for 17 years until it ended.

2 things that happened.

1)Saudisation quota. For the last year he was effectively training his replacement.

2)Huawei. They came in and undercut everyone else to get the contracts.

So based on that I would be clear about having an exit plan until you know the lie of the land.

Leave your family at home for at least six months, before they join you.
Yep, those stories sound so familiar... Anyways, I'm OK with the salary at the moment, I have to say. 6 figures is OK for a family of 5, but with all this pandemic madness, not sure what future brings.
Leaving family behind - not an option. Happened before and I'm not repeating it, that's our agreement. Wife and I have 5 year experience from Qatar, and a positive one I have to say. I guess that helps.

Originally Posted by tooboocoo View Post
Any thoughts on the subject? Sure:

1. If you'll be SAVING (not earning) considerably more than you can in the UK, it may be worth considering.
2. Even if (1) is met, it may not be worth a much more staid, dull, restricted life for yourself or especially your family.
3. Your kids' schooling may be of a lower standard.
4. Your wife may not find work, or be allowed to work.
5. Despite great changes in the last decade, it's still a dump compared to almost anywhere else.
1. Not sure yet, but the recruiter talks about significant difference and lower tax. I've been reading the forum, looks like KSA introduced some taxes. When I get some numbers, I'll post it here. Also, we've already traded London for Dublin. After kids were born, we had to go. Cost of living... one salary... it didn't go well.
2. Is there really nothing we can do there? There must be something for westerners only?
3. I'm afraid of that. Not sure about the difference.
4. That's one of the things to think about also. If my savings can't surpass what we make here now, that's a deal breaker.
5. Even Riyadh?
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Old Jul 26th 2020, 8:59 am
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Wives can have a VERY hard time in KSA. Older kids ditto. No job in KSA is secure. I was there for many years but I never accepted it as anything but a month-by-month contract.
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Old Jul 26th 2020, 12:37 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Originally Posted by HeyJoe View Post
Wife and I have 5 year experience from Qatar
It's going to be much c****ier than Qatar, unless you enjoy/want a much stricter Islamic environment.
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Old Jul 29th 2020, 3:21 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Telco Opportunity, seeking advice

Originally Posted by HeyJoe View Post
Well, infrastructure is my background and they are building it all over the place.
Sorry for the late reply.

Infrastructure means you should be set for the medium term at least given the plans that MBS(the crown prince and de-facto main man of Saudi Arabia) has for "levelling up" KSA and all the work they are doing for putting more transportation links in , which means throwing up more towers and enhancing signal coverage to remote communities.

Salary-wise, negotiate for company footing the bill for school (assuming you will be aiming for the British school) and one of the western compounds in Riyadh.

Saudi is still much more conservative than the rest of the GCC and most people went to Bahrain and/or Dubai for more fun-filled activities ( before C19)

There aren't Western-only activities per se, However there are western only compounds where things are a bit more relaxed in terms of clothing etc. Having said that, I am told that Riyadh now has cinemas so things are changing.

In terms of activities, depends on what you are into. So yes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and probably a no to Warhammer 40K

Lastly, I have a relative who has been living in Riyadh for the last 7 years and has kids in both the British and American schools there so PM if you have any more questions and I will ask him.

Best of luck with the move.





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