Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the kingdom's biggest mobile operator, and app developer Mena Communication Holding have launched Beem, a voice and video calling application to meet growing demand for communication services in the kingdom.
Beem, which was launched at the Leap technology exhibition in Riyadh, will cater to personal and business use in an era of remote activity, according to its description on the app store.
“For business users, Beem is an essential tool for effective collaboration and organisation management,” it said.
Beem is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play, and does not require users to purchase an additional subscription from Saudi Arabia's telecom operators, including STC, Zain and Mobily.
Voice and video calling apps — which run on voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology — were popular even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
The health crisis, however, caused a spike in VoIP use, as people were confined to their homes and office workers, students and businesses conducted more activities online.
The global mobile VoIP market is projected to grow to $67.8 billion by 2027 from an estimated $33.5 billion in 2021, at a compound annual rate of about 12.5 per cent, according to the latest data from Research and Markets.
The use of VoIP also has the potential to provide significant savings.
Users can save up to 90 per cent on international calls and 40 per cent on local calls, while companies can save on operational costs, a study from data provider FinancesOnline showed.
Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on internet calling applications in 2017, allowing services such as Skype and WhatsApp to fully operate in the kingdom.
The move was aimed at improving business confidence as the kingdom transitions into a post-oil era, the government said at that time.
Beem's features include support for video meetings for up to 150 participants, as well as calendar synchronisation and to-do task management.
It also gives users collaboration control for documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Admin functionality allows businesses “manage their team and projects with ease”, it said.
Beem also has an augmented reality function that lets users apply filters to their messages.