Category Archives: Commerce

4 Telecom Developments and Trends You Need to Know about

4 Telecom Developments and Trends You Need to Know about

The world is continually adapting to advancements in technology, and nowhere is this more evident than in the telecom sector. Prominent service providers are growing in size and scope and implementing new technology to appease existing customers and attract new ones. The following are four recent developments that are shaping the telecom industry in the Middle East:

 

  1. Huawei and Etisalat at the Forefront of 5G

On May 3, the SAMENA Telecommunications Council hosted the annual Telecom Leaders’ Summit in Dubai. The event, which was themed “Building the Digital Economy of the Middle East,” was attended by business leaders in telecommunication as well as government bodies, regulators, and consultants, all of whom discussed the potential framework for beneficial Information and Communication Technology (ICT) strategies in a period of digital transformation. A strategic partner of the annual summit for the past five years, Huawei hosted three sub-forums focusing on industry trends and presented the Global Industry Vision 2025. However, perhaps the biggest development to come out of the summit was Huawei’s introduction of its 5G Ecosystem Program for the Middle East.

“With 5G and artificial intelligence just around the corner, the digital world—where all things will sense, all things are connected, and all things are intelligent—is within reach,” said President of Huawei Middle East Charles Yang. “We will continue our investment on intelligent devices, to enhance people’s work and entertainment experience. We will continue our investment on home broadband network, to enrich people’s lives at home.”

The Huawei-led “5G is Now” sub-forum focused on the wireless system’s capacity for supporting national transformation plans and expediting the Middle East’s digital transformation journey. The company expects its first 5G mobile devices to be available by the latter part of 2019.

Meanwhile, the UAE-based Etisalat recently announced the launch of its commercial 5G wireless network, which is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region. Etisalat demonstrated the network’s high-quality performance using a 5G-based drone, complete with a 360-degree virtual-reality camera and 4K streaming capabilities.

 

  1. Data Consumption to Double in the Middle East

data center

In addition to being at the forefront of 5G technology, Middle East telecom carriers can expect a significant increase in mobile data consumption over the next few years. According to a study published by GlobalData, the implementation of 5G technology will drive the average monthly data consumption per consumer in the Middle East and Africa to 4.6 gigabytes per month by 2022. The average user consumption in 2017 was 2.3 gigabytes per month.

“All AME countries will witness a double-digit data usage Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) through 2022, leading to a regional average of 15.1 percent,” said GlobalData Technology Analyst Houda Bostanji, adding that Kuwait is among the countries with the largest mobile data usage in the world at 23.8 gigabytes per month as of 2017.

 

  1. Bahrain’s Kalaam Telecom Acquires Kuwait-Based Company

Bahrain ranks second in the Middle East in regard to average mobile data consumption per month, and the country’s leading provider, Kalaam Telecom, is expanding its network presence both domestically and internationally with its recent acquisition of Tawasul Telecom. A Kuwait-based company, Tawasul has built a strong presence in the Middle East and the United Kingdom, and has offices in five countries. Tawasul was the third acquisition in the past four years for Kalaam, which has been able to significantly reduce costs and increase productivity for its business clients through its ever-growing reach as well as its product and service offerings.

“Most enterprises today are looking for a single solutions provider to meet all their communication needs,” said Kalaam CEO Veer Passi. “With this acquisition, we will be equipped to meet those demands and … offer our customers easy-to-procure, fast and pan-GCC solutions over a single agreement.”

 

  1. UAE Exploring Reversal of Skype and FaceTime Ban

In the UAE, the government prevents mobile users from using Skype or Apple’s FaceTime, but this could soon change due in part to further investment by Microsoft in the emirates. The tech giant plans to build two data centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2019. In May, Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, director general of the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) confirmed that TRA was in talks with both Microsoft and Apple to lift the ban, which has been in place for the past few years. While UAE residents can use messaging services offered through Skype, FaceTime, and other Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services like Viber and Whatsapp, they are unable to use these entities’ free-calling-via-wireless connection feature due to laws that essentially allow for a monopoly of the sector by Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications. Saudi Arabia lifted a similar ban in September 2017.

The reversal of the ban will generate cost-effective benefits not only for individuals, but also for small and medium-sized businesses that employ virtual private networks to access VoIP services. “We have been working closely with the local authorities towards gaining a better understanding of the local requirements in an effort to get Skype unblocked,” noted a Microsoft spokesperson in a prepared statement. Most industry watchers expect that the government will lift the ban on Skype upon the completion of the two data centers.

Attractive Business Ideas You Need to Know About for Underdeveloped Countries

Attractive Business Ideas You Need to Know About for Underdeveloped Countries

Starting a business or expanding an enterprise into underdeveloped countries can be difficult. However, there are several benefits to doing so. Language and cultural barriers may present challenges, but you’re more likely to grab a larger share of the market in an underdeveloped country than you are in developed countries like the United States, United… Continue Reading

How Is Lebanon Improving Its Transportation Systems?

How Is Lebanon Improving Its Transportation Systems?

Lebanon has a network of roads extending beyond 7,000 kilometers. However, because of a lack of funding, they are falling into decline. Many aging roads are simply not being maintained and others remain severely damaged from the nation’s 15-year civil war. Its railway system was also greatly affected by the conflict. What was once a… Continue Reading

4 Planned City Projects in Kuwait You Need to Know About

4 Planned City Projects in Kuwait You Need to Know About

In an effort to drive economic development and keep up with rising demand for public housing, the Kuwait government placed large-scale infrastructure projects at the forefront of its five-year plan beginning in 2015. Less than 20 percent of development projects were executed in the previous five-year plan, but the current plan promises the completion of… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

What You Need to Know about Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

The United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi is a burgeoning hub for infrastructure development. Recently, the city earned the TomTom International Award for World’s Best City in Developing Infrastructures Related to Traffic Management. Core infrastructure projects are ongoing throughout Abu Dhabi and have the potential to boost the city’s economy, but one large-scale resort… Continue Reading

7 Facts You Need to Know about the Riyadh Metro

7 Facts You Need to Know about the Riyadh Metro

The Middle East is seeing rapid infrastructure development, with many major cities working to adapt to rapidly changing times. In Saudi Arabia, the capital city and bustling metropolitan hub of Riyadh is currently executing an innovative transportation plan to respond to its surging population and ensure that all residents can travel the city safely and… Continue Reading

3 of the Top Trends Transforming Telecommunications in the Middle East

3 of the Top Trends Transforming Telecommunications in the Middle East

The Middle East telecommunications industry is currently undergoing a period of significant growth and transformation. For the past decade, the regional business sector has grown by 3.5 percent each year, expanding at around 12 times the pace of the global telecom sector. Driven by surging populations and business opportunities, telecommunications companies throughout the region are… Continue Reading

3 Exciting Ways Iran Will Rediscover the Freedom of Travel

3 Exciting Ways Iran Will Rediscover the Freedom of Travel

As the second-most populated and the second-most well-funded country in the Middle East, Iran has significant potential for industry and infrastructure development – especially with the recent removal of international sanctions. While cut off from global trade and financial connection, Iran experienced underinvestment. This, in turn, put considerable strain on its aging transport system and… Continue Reading

This Is the Story of Dubai’s Economy

This Is the Story of Dubai’s Economy

For some places in the world, the discovery of a valuable natural resource has the power to change everything. For the city of Dubai, once just a dry expanse of desert with a small settlement, its entire economy and cultural scene has been affected by one precious commodity—oil. Looking at the city, which is packed… Continue Reading

A Look at the Web of Cables That Connects Our World

A Look at the Web of Cables That Connects Our World

One of the primary components of telecommunications infrastructure is fiber optic cable. Nearly all of the world’s international data travels through 350 undersea cables stretching more than 550,000 miles. Almost every nation on earth is connected by this fascinating feat of engineering that powers the Internet, telephone systems, and cable television. What Is a Fiber… Continue Reading