Saudi Telecom and IT minister directs mobile service providers to ensure roaming services, network in remote areas

Abdullah Alswaha. (Courtesy: linkedin)
Updated 06 January 2018
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Saudi Telecom and IT minister directs mobile service providers to ensure roaming services, network in remote areas

RIYADH: Minister of Telecommunications and IT Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha has directed all mobile service providers to ensure the availability of local roaming services and network sharing in remote areas.

Al-Sawaha issued the directive based on citizens’ requests after his inspection visit to communities in the Hejer region and various governorates across the Kingdom.

The minister is also the chairman of the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), which confirmed that mobile service providers in remote areas must provide local roaming service within a maximum period of 60 days to enable users to obtain coverage in villages, irrespective of the service provider.

They are also required to provide quality service to these areas, in addition to continuity of service and easy access to all basic telecommunications and Internet services.

Highlighting a step forward toward plans to expand broadband Internet services to 70 percent of the Kingdom’s remote areas by 2020, Al-Sawaha announced the completion of the high-speed home broadband network project for Al-Jumoum district in Makkah region, a ministry statement said.

It also marks the digital leap in enhancing e-government services in key sectors such as education and health care.

The project is part of the government’s efforts to develop a digital infrastructure in villages and contribute to the development of an innovative government in the Kingdom.

Moreover, during his visit to Al-Jumuom, Al-Sawaha witnessed the launch of broadband Internet services at speeds of 10 Mbps in the village of Rahat and Muddrika.

Speaking on the occasion, Al-Sawaha said that the ministry is eager to activate partnerships with the private sector to encourage investments in developing the digital infrastructure to ensure the best quality services to members of society.

As part of the ministry’s efforts to extend seamless connectivity throughout the Kingdom in line with the National Transformation Program and Saudi Vision 2030, communication and Internet services have been provided to more than 4 million residents in over 17,000 communities in the regions of Northern Borders, Jouf, Hail, Tabuk, Qassim, Riyadh, Madinah, Makkah, Eastern Province, Asir, Baha, Najran, and Jazan.


Fast track to Hajj on Jakarta’s ‘Makkah Road’

Updated 18 July 2018
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Fast track to Hajj on Jakarta’s ‘Makkah Road’

  • A fast-track clearance for Indonesian Hajj pilgrims has been opened at Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport
  • The initiative comes as the first groups of pilgrims left from six Indonesian cities, including the capital

JAKARTA: A fast-track clearance for Indonesian Hajj pilgrims — known as the “Makkah Road” — has been opened at Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport.
The initiative comes as the first groups of pilgrims left from six Indonesian cities, including the capital.
Indonesian and Saudi officials, including Osama bin Mohammed Al-Shuaibi, the Kingdom’s ambassador to Indonesia, were present at the official launch of the fast-track facility on Tuesday.
Airport operator Angkasa Pura has installed 20 booths to process Hajj pilgrims, with each counter manned by two Saudi immigration officers.
“This is the first time the immigration process has taken place in Jakarta, so they will not have to go through custom clearance on arrival in Saudi Arabia and can go directly to their buses, which will take them to their accommodation, while their luggage will be handled and delivered directly to their respective hotels,” Al-Shuaibi said.
“This is a step to improve our Hajj services. We have introduced it this year at Jakarta, where about 60,000 pilgrims are expected to depart. We will introduce it in four cities next time and eventually we hope to introduce it all Hajj embarkations in Indonesia,” he said.
The envoy said that about 400 pilgrims underwent the fast-track clearance in an hour at the airport on Tuesday.
“We appreciate King Salman’s initiative that makes the pilgrims’ journey much easier. It shows that we have a deep and close relation,” Indonesia’s Minister of Social Affairs, Idrus Marham, said.
Director-General of Hajj and Umrah at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Nizar Ali, said that 4,486 pilgrims had left from Surakarta, Surabaya, Jakarta, Padang, Makassar and Lombok. More than 221,000 pilgrims are expected to leave Indonesia this year, with the last departure on Aug. 14.
Garuda, the Indonesian airline, expects to fly as many as 108,000 pilgrims in 280 groups from around the country.
Among the 393 pilgrims who left Jakarta was 91-year-old Mohammad Hasan Saad, from East Jakarta, the oldest person in the group.
Hanif Fakri, a member of the medical staff assisting the group, said that Saad was making his second pilgrimage after his first Hajj in 2012.
Hanafi bin Dogol, a 50-year-old pilgrim from East Jakarta, told Arab News that he been on a seven-year waiting list waiting for his chance to go on Hajj.
“I have been practicing and learning the rituals. I hope I can accomplish the pilgrimage in the most favorable manner,” he said.