Iqama number now irrelevant to recharge prepaid mobile phones in Saudi

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Previously, it was used to deactivate illegally obtained prepaid SIM cards.

Now in Riyadh, to recharge the balance of your pre-paid mobile phones, your residency card (iqama) number is no longer required.

In a directive issued by the Communication and Information Technology Commission (CITC) to all mobile telecommunication service providers, the use of iqama number should be aborted from Wednesday.

The use of iqama number for the charging, recharging or transferring of mobile phone balance through prepaid cards, was initiated by the CITC in July 2012.

This was aimed at deactivating the operation of illegally acquired prepaid SIM cards.

However, from phone bills to internet data packs and paid apps, users will now be charged their impending Value Added Tax (VAT) on their utility bills, starting from the 1st of January.

The VAT also includes mobile phone, fixed line, data and payable digital services, and they will all be charged as per the standard rate.

Subsequently, there will be a reduction in the mobile credit pre-paid by customers, upon the execution of the VAT. Thus, a typical SR100 prepaid card will now cost SR95, as the VAT will consume the remaining SR5.

Though, VAT will be added to bills for post-paid customers.