Category Archives: Infrastructure

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.

4 UAE Infrastructure Developments You Need to Know About

4 UAE Infrastructure Developments You Need to Know About

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has one of the healthiest economies in the world and, as a result, it has been able to invest heavily in its infrastructure sector. A recent study conducted by Agility, a prominent logistics firm, ranked the UAE as having the best quality of infrastructure in the entire Middle East and… Continue Reading

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

Spotlight on Bahrain’s Investments in Tourism Infrastructure

Spotlight on Bahrain’s Investments in Tourism Infrastructure

Bahrain is home to one of the fastest-growing economies in the Middle East. The growth is being driven by an increase in tourism coinciding with significant investments in tourism infrastructure. According to the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, the Kingdom welcomed 12.2 million visitors in 2016—a 6% increase from the previous year—and 12.7 million in… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about Saudi Arabia’s Entertainment Infrastructure

What You Need to Know about Saudi Arabia’s Entertainment Infrastructure

Saudi Arabia’s economic growth was stagnant in 2016 and 2017. However, the Kingdom’s government announced its highest-ever budget in early 2018 and, among other measures, its effort to diversify its economy stands out. Whereas the production and sale of oil was a major facilitator of economic growth in the past, the development of mega-cities is… Continue Reading

Five Middle East Telecom Developments You Need to Know About

Five Middle East Telecom Developments You Need to Know About

The telecom sector in the Middle East had been growing at a steady rate until 2017, when mobile penetration reached 120 percent and, as a result of a reduction in expatriate population and the economy losing momentum, mobile subscriber growth reached its lowest-ever rate. The market grew only 1 percent year over year in 2016… 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 Ongoing Mega Projects in Turkey You Need to Know About

4 Ongoing Mega Projects in Turkey You Need to Know About

Since the turn of the 21st century, Turkey has made substantial investments in ambitious infrastructure projects, and that trend is going to continue beyond 2018. In the past decade and a half alone, the Middle Eastern country has spent nearly $100 billion to construct new roadways, tunnels, airports, bridges, and railways in an effort to… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about Qatar’s $22 Billion Expressway Project

What You Need to Know about Qatar’s $22 Billion Expressway Project

Qatar has been busy implementing widespread infrastructure projects across a variety of sectors. As the designated host country for the 2020 FIFA World Cup, the nation is building a number of new stadiums as well as local roads and expressways. One of the most important of these projects is the Qatar Expressway Project. At 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