Category Archives: Saudi Arabia

5 Middle East Telecom Developments You Need to Know

5 Middle East Telecom Developments You Need to Know

The telecommunications sector is forever in a state of flux as companies fight to seek supremacy in their respective markets—and that is especially true in the Middle East, where telecom operators are fighting to be the first to establish a commercially available 5G network. Ultimately, the goal is to increase revenue and overall business performance by catering to consumers’ rising demand for web-based content.

Here are five exciting developments in the Middle East:

 

Saudi Telecom Sector’s Impressive Q3 Performance

STClogoImpressive financial results for Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Zain Saudi Arabia (Zain KSA) boosted the performance of the country’s entire telecom sector in the third quarter of 2018, scoring an 11 percent rise in overall profits from the year prior. For the three-month period ending in September, STC, Zain, and Etihad Etisalat Co. recorded profits of SAR 2.66 billion, which was up from SAR 2.4 billion during the same time in 2017. Those three companies managed a combined 6 percent year-over-year growth in profit during the first nine months of this year. The other Saudi telecom services company, Etihad Atheeb Telecommunications, concludes its fiscal year in March.

While STC maintained the highest overall profit during the third quarter and 2018 as a whole, Zain KSA’s growth during the same time was the most impressive. The company’s third-quarter net profits increased a whopping 1,500 percent, from SAR 3 million in 2017 to SAR 48 million. This was Zain KSA’s highest-ever quarterly profit and it was driven by customer service and acquisition strategies, data monetization initiatives, and investment in fiber expansion and network upgrades.

 

Iran’s Ambitious Telecom Investment Plan

Over the next four years, the Iranian government intends to invest more than USD 18 billion in its information and communications technology (ICT) sector, while Telecommunication Company of Iran has promised to invest USD 306 million in telecom infrastructure over the next two years. The ambitious investment plan began in March 2017.  As a result of early investments, mobile Internet speed increased by an average of 36 percent that year. Such drastic improvement led the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to name Iran the world’s most dynamic country in regard to ICT development.

“Currently, around 700 towns and cities have access to third-generation and around 350 cities have access to fourth-generation mobile Internet,” said Iranian minister of ICT Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi. “At the moment, many ministries are using the National Broadband Network. The ministry of ICT emphasizes that the development of the National Broadband Network has created more than 100,000 jobs and therefore the electronic government is being pushed further.”

The Ministry of ICT outlined its recent performance and vision for the future at the 19th International Trade Show on Innovative CIT Solutions, held at the Tehran International Fairgrounds October 3-6, 2018.

 

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Etisalat and Abu Dhabi Ports Agree to Partnership

In mid-October, Etisalat and Abu Dhabi Ports signed a memorandum of understanding to advance business opportunities and technological capabilities in support of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital’s Economic Vision 2030. Signed at GITEX Technology Week, the partnership primarily involves building shared networks and electronic projects as well as simplifying procedures, exchanging knowledge, and securing wireless and fixed telecommunications coverage.

The agreement will significantly benefit Abu Dhabi Ports as Etisalat will help the company adapt to new telecommunications technologies, customer behaviors, and business models. The CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, expressed his excitement about the partnership, which he noted will support Abu Dhabi’s strategic plans in the long run. Meanwhile, Etisalat Abu Dhabi general manager Sultan Al Dhaheri said that the agreement is part of the company’s prime objective of “driving a digital future to empower societies.”

 

PP-18 Opens in Dubai

The ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) opened on October 29 in Dubai with a call to world leaders in the telecom sector to “act as one” in connecting the nearly 4 billion people who do not have Internet access. Held every four years, the conference is the ITU’s highest decision-making body and is attended by representatives from each of the union’s 193 member-states. Together, they elect leaders for the union’s top five posts and create a blueprint of financial and strategic plans for the following four years.

In his opening address, ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao spoke to the importance of adapting to new technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence: “The challenge before us today is to ensure that these technologies and ICTs, in general, continue to be a source for good for everyone across the world.”

 

Lebanese Telecom Entrepreneurs Launch Mobile App

Lebanese entrepreneurs and engineers Dany Moghniee and Wissam Tamer recently launched a new mobile application designed to highlight the trendiest videos and pictures in a particular location. The app is named WaynYo (after a Lebanese expression that loosely translates to “What’s happening?”) and allows users to vote for the best images and videos in their region by utilizing geo-location capabilities. It was officially launched during the GITEX exhibition in Dubai this past October.

What You Need to Know about Saudi Arabia’s Proposed Mega-City

What You Need to Know about Saudi Arabia’s Proposed Mega-City

As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to shift its economic reliance away from crude oil due to a drastic decline in prices, it has placed an emphasis on developing tourism and mega-city projects. Its ambitious Red Sea Project aims to transform 50 untouched islands into a world-renowned resort and hospitality destination, while another 10,230-square-mile… Continue Reading

Everything You Need to Know About the Red Sea Project

Everything You Need to Know About the Red Sea Project

In the past, Saudi Arabia’s tourist industry has primarily been as a religious destination, through the Umrah or Hajj pilgrimages. However, in line with Vision 2030, the kingdom is seeking to diversify its economy beyond fossil fuel production and invest heavily in its tourism sector. Saudi Arabia recently began construction on the expansive Qiddiya Project.… Continue Reading

What You Need to Know about Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya Entertainment City

What You Need to Know about Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya Entertainment City

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative was established by the Council of Economic and Development Affairs under the guidance of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. As part of this initiative, Saudi Arabia is working toward diversifying its economy and creating a vibrant society with a wealth of cultural and entertainment options. Earlier in 2018, the… Continue Reading

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… 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

Spotlight on the Development of 5G in the Middle East

Spotlight on the Development of 5G in the Middle East

Smartphones and other mobile devices have become increasingly ubiquitous in today’s society. Thus, it is important that network providers adapt to the changing telecommunications landscape by offering technology that will improve download speeds and allow for greater connectivity between devices. In recent years, 3G and 4G networks have proven capable of connecting people who are… 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

Everything You Need to Know about the Latest Saudi High-Speed Railway

Everything You Need to Know about the Latest Saudi High-Speed Railway

In addition to shifting its economy away from its reliance on oil, Saudi Arabia is implementing numerous rail transport projects. This will not only diversify its economy, but alleviate traffic congestion on its roads. The Saudi Landbridge Project will connect the capital, Riyadh, with Jeddah on the Red Sea coast. While it will primarily be… 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