Record numbers in STC mobile data usage during Hajj

Pilgrims were able to connect to the high-speed network via Wi-Fi at a number of locations at the holy mosque, holy places, and their camps.
Updated 12 August 2019

Record numbers in STC mobile data usage during Hajj

For the first time, the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has shouldered the consumption of 7 GB data. 

Over 7 terabytes (TB) was used in Mina, 6 TB of which was over the mobile network in Mina. 

It marked an increase of 39 percent over last year. 

The 5.1 TB was used over the 4G network, marking an increase of 57 percent over last year, in addition to 7 GB over 5G.

The number of subscribers increased by 14 percent compared to last year. 

The number of roaming customers increased by 12 percent, and the network recorded distinct success indicators exceeding 99.7 percent.

STC has launched the 5G network and made it available primarily in three services — Wi-Fi, holograms, and drones. 

Pilgrims can connect to the high-speed network via Wi-Fi at a number of locations at the holy mosque, holy places, and their camps.

Over 761,000 STC customers spent Yaum Al-Tarwiyah in Mina, marking a 14 percent increase from last year. Of these, 251,000 are international roaming customers — 12 percent up from last year.

Unexpectedly, the peak hour shifted back this year to 10 p.m., during which more than 6 TB were passed through the mobile network in Mina, 39 percent more from last year. The 4G took a 5.1 TB share, marking an increase of 57 percent over last year.

Despite a great rise in traffic, indicators of network service success exceeded the rates of last year to reach more than 99.7 percent. No significant bottlenecks were recorded.

In January, Ookla, the company behind Speedtest for internet testing and analysis, recognized the STC as the “fastest mobile network” in Saudi Arabia.

Resort in Oman offers camping adventures

Updated 19 August 2019

Resort in Oman offers camping adventures

Al-Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara in southern Oman has unveiled its new Luxe Mobile Camping Adventures. In collaboration with travel specialist Oman Expeditions, this offering is the first bespoke luxury mobile camping experience to take guests across the diverse terrain of the Dhofar province from the mountains to the desert to the sea. 

Set between a relaxing stay at the beachside resort in Salalah, the camping adventures offer tailored itineraries of varying lengths. Activities and camp locations allow guests to discover a wilderness of star-studded skies, vast deserts, rugged mountains and long, empty beaches. Southern Oman is said to be an uncharted destination and one of the only places where the true culture of old Arabia is still alive.

Drawing on the vast country knowledge and experience of Oman Expedition’s founder Sean Nelson, these new experiences weave in the rich, traditional heritage and magnificent natural environment of the region to create rare and memorable expeditions for resort guests while continuing to provide the luxury and comfort they desire. 

A former officer in the British Royal Marines and Royal Army of Oman’s Desert Regiment, Nelson has been nominated annually for the Conde Nast Top Travel Specialist for Oman since 2012. A leading private travel specialist, he is renowned for his rich and varied experience of the country. Before setting up Oman Expeditions, Nelson founded Hud Hud Travels in 2006, Oman’s northern-based provider of professionally run private luxury camps and events. 

Traveling via luxury 4x4 vehicles, a sample itinerary would include two nights camping with three days of various activities. Guests may choose to venture deep into the most remote parts of the world’s largest sand desert to find peace and solitude amidst magnificent sweeping dunes reaching up to 200 meters in the Empty Quarter. For a seaside option, guests can camp on a stretch of wild and secluded beach along the Dhofar coastline where they will encounter an array of wildlife including spinner dolphins, green turtles and coastal bird life as well as swim and snorkel in the crystal clear water 30 meters from their tent. In the foothills of the Dhofar mountains, guests can step back in time on a trek with camels along the same ancient frankincense trading routes that these prized animals have been following for over 2,000 years.

Oman Expeditions also brings together Dhofar’s top local contacts from guides, drivers and chefs to camel herders, artisans and religious scholars to ensure clients have an enriching and authentic experience. In addition, expeditions are accompanied by members of the Mahrah, a tribe who have traveled along frankincense trading routes with their camels since the time of the Queen of Sheba.