Category Archives: Kuwait

Spotlight: Recent Middle East Telecom Highlights You Need to Know

Spotlight: Recent Middle East Telecom Highlights You Need to Know

As with the rest of the world, Middle East countries and their telecom operators are working toward large-scale deployment of 5G networks to improve connection and download speeds for all devices, as well as to allow for future integration in technology-driven smart cities. Beyond the implementation of 5G networks, here are five recent developments that are shaping the telecom sector in the Middle East.

 

Iran Moving Toward Free Market Internet Economy

Less than one year after launching its mandatory Internet Fair Usage Policy (FUP), the Iranian Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) took a step toward the deregulation of its Internet market in July as it announced the removal of price caps on tariffs for most Internet service providers (ISP). At the time of the announcement, CRA chief Hossein Fallah noted that ISPs will receive a directive to set prices in accordance with market demand by the end of the summer. The hope is that the removal of price caps will lead to both lower costs and better quality of services.

 

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In addition to pricing measures, the FUP requires each landline ISP to establish a data cap for different Internet speeds, and as a result, local ISPs like HiWeb, Pars Online, and Shatel have already significantly increased their data cap as opposed to previous limits to stay competitive. Shatel, for instance, now offers Internet speeds of 4 Mbps with a 110-gigabyte (GB) data cap for 400,000 rials. Prior to the introduction of the FUP, it offered a 4 Mbps connection with a 4 GB data limit for 440,000 rials.

 

Bahrain Ranks Fourth in UN Index for Telecom Infrastructure

Regarded as one of the most healthy and successful in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Bahrain telecom sector boasts low tariffs and high mobile phone use, and has continued to grow thanks in part to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, which was established in 2002 to liberalize the sector from the Batelco monopoly and protect consumer interests. As of 2013, there were 20 active telecom operators in the country.

In July, the kingdom was recognized for its landmark strides in the sector as it was ranked fourth in the United Nations (UN) global index for telecom infrastructure. Previously, it ranked 11th in the UN’s 2016 index. Denmark, Australia, and South Korea ranked first, second, and third respectively in the 2018 index. Issued by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the report evaluates the quality and scope of online services, as well as human capacity and the condition of telecom infrastructure. The report also noted that, “GCC countries managed to achieve a series of substantial accomplishments related to improving e-government systems and making it easier for citizens to access government portals of other GCC member states.”

 

UAE Telecom Subscribers Reach 24 Million

According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, telecom service subscribers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) increased 2 percent to 24 million during the first five months of 2018. The biggest contributor to that growth was mobile phone penetration, which increased per 100 subscribers from 226 to 230 lines, while the total number of subscribers rose 2 percent to 20.25 million. Similarly, mobile phone services comprised more than 80 percent of all revenue among telecom operators.

 

Significant Job Growth in the Saudi Telecom and IT Sector

Since the Saudi government announced plans for a $500 billion high-tech megacity at The Future Investment Initiative in 2017, the kingdom’s IT and telecom sector has registered a 29 percent increase in e-recruitment. During the same time, overall hiring in Saudi Arabia increased 10 percent. The sharp increase falls in line with the kingdom’s strategy for digital evolution as part of Vision 2030.

 

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“The latest [Monster Employment Index] findings come as no surprise given Saudi Arabia’s plans to drive a digital transformation,” said Abhijeet Mukherjee, CEO of Monster.com, Asia-Pacific and Middle East. “Recent initiatives like the ‘Neom’ project is a testament to the country’s ambitious desire to become one of the world’s leading players in the technology industry.”

 

VIVA Signs Partnership Agreement with Payment Solutions Company

VIVA is one of the fastest-growing telecom operators in Kuwait, with 89 branches throughout the country, and the company is seeking further expansion through its involvement in the recharge cards and prepaid lines sub-sector. In August, the company signed a strategic partnership agreement with Al-Aaly Communications, a payment solutions company, to be its exclusive distributor of its prepaid products. According to VIVA CEO Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Badran, the partnership will facilitate the development and distribution of a variety of innovative products.

“This strategic partnership with Al-Aaly Company is part of our expansion plans in 2018, and we will put all our expertise to ensure the success of this partnership,” he said after signing the contract at a ceremony in the Salmiya area of Kuwait City.

The deal comes shortly after the company announced its net profits reached KD 23.8 million in the six-month period ending June 30, which represents a growth of 21 percent from the same time frame in 2017.

Everything You Need to Know about Kuwait’s Infrastructure Spending

Everything You Need to Know about Kuwait’s Infrastructure Spending

Home to more than 6 percent of the world’s crude oil reserves, Kuwait has built a relatively strong economy based upon oil production and distribution, with petroleum accounting for more than 90 percent of the nation’s export revenues. However, realizing the need to diversify its economy, Kuwait’s leaders are now heavily investing in civic- and… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about MENA Infrastructure and Climate Change

What You Need to Know about MENA Infrastructure and Climate Change

Worldwide temperatures in summer 2018 have highlighted the impact of climate change and stressed the urgency for global leaders and organizations to expedite and improve their carbon-reduction solutions. Sweden, for instance, is in the middle of its hottest-recorded summer in more than 100 years, while Japan is experiencing dangerously high temperatures up to 41 degrees… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about the GCC Rail Network

What You Need to Know about the GCC Rail Network

The Gulf Cooperation Council comprises six Middle Eastern countries and was established in 1981 to achieve political and cultural unity among the participating nations, which share a belief in Islam. While the countries—Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)—have political, economic, religious, and cultural ties, they will soon be further… 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

Revealing the Surprising Details of Kuwait’s Big Week

Revealing the Surprising Details of Kuwait’s Big Week

When it comes to infrastructure and spending, Kuwait has big plans for the next few years. Between housing, energy, and water projects, the emirate anticipates future improvements will cost about $15.6 billion, with projected housing development continuing until 2030. This plan, along with other government-sponsored projects to boost the economy, were the central discussion in… Continue Reading

5 Remarkably Sustainable Buildings in the MENA Region

5 Remarkably Sustainable Buildings in the MENA Region

Infrastructure in the MENA region has taken a sustainable turn in recent decades. Green buildings have become a priority for both developers and the public, as is evidenced by these five energy-efficient and sustainable structures. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia’s capital… Continue Reading

These 2 Remarkable City Projects in Kuwait Will Amaze You

Kuwait is one the smallest countries in the Middle East, but also one of the most oil-rich. The country spans an area of just under 7,000 square miles with a population of about 3 million. The country’s robust oil reserves have provided it with a high global ranking in terms of per-capita wealth. Much of… Continue Reading