Smartphone users in Saudi Arabia have a strong interest in new, future services

Updated 31 March 2016

Smartphone users in Saudi Arabia have a strong interest in new, future services

RIYADH: Smartphone users in Saudi Arabia have a strong interest in new and future services like multi-screening, connected cars and connected homes. The aspiration for these new services is much higher than among users in the US and the UK, according to a report released in Riyadh on Tuesday. The latest Ericsson ConsumerLab report “Evolving Expectations”, pointed out that the mobile broadband usage behavior in Saudi Arabia stands out compared to the global markets, driven by high smartphone ownership, access to 4G networks and strong interest in new services.
The study presents insights from research involving more than 2000 smartphone users, who use mobile broadband, and sheds light on the changing mobile broadband usage and behavior in the Kingdom .
When it comes to satisfaction of mobile broadband users on 4G networks, the study shows that user expectations from the service increase over time.
Presenting the report, Ali Eid, head of Ericsson,Saudi Arabia, said that the study reveals the share of time spent watching video on mobile devices is 62 percent, which is significantly high in KSA when compared with countries like the United Arab Emirates, US, the UK and Germany.
In fact, he said consumers in the Kingdom are almost on par with their western counterparts in terms of Internet usage throughout the day with 66 percent saying they use the internet constantly throughout the day. Another 54 percent claim that the internet is their main source of news and entertainment surpassing both the UK and the USA.
On the other hand, user expectations are constantly evolving over time. The report finds that as users become more experienced with mobile broadband services, their expectations rise. This is translated in lower satisfaction of experienced 4G users than that of the new users.
Eid said: “The fact is that consumers in the Kingdom are increasingly mobile, video driven, to the extent that their connectivity and mobility is surpassing many other countries, which is truly exciting. One of the key points highlighted by this report is that consumer expectations from mobile services are increasingly evolving over time. In order to meet the expectations, there is a challenge for operators to improve service quality with reliable and faster mobile broadband and better customer support.”


Taps and reservoirs run dry as Moroccan drought hits farmers

Updated 22 October 2020

Taps and reservoirs run dry as Moroccan drought hits farmers

  • The problems caused by increasingly erratic rainfall and the depletion of groundwater are growing every year in Morocco

RABAT: Two years of drought have drained reservoirs in southern Morocco, threatening crops the region relies on and leading to nightly cuts in tap water for an area that is home to a million people.

In a country that relies on farming for two jobs in five and 14 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), the problems caused by increasingly erratic rainfall and the depletion of groundwater are growing every year.

In the rich citrus plantations of El-Guerdan, stretching eastward from the southern city of Agadir, more than half of farmers rely on two dams in the mountains of Aoulouz, 126 km away, to irrigate their trees.

However, that water has been diverted to the tourist hub of Agadir, where mains water has been cut to residential areas every night since Oct. 3 to ensure taps in households did not run entirely dry.

“The priority should go to drinking water,” Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhannouch said in parliament last week.

In El-Guerdan, Youssef Jebha’s crop of clementine oranges has been compromised by reduced water supply, he said, which affects both the quality of fruit and the size of the harvest.

“The available ground water is barely enough to keep the trees alive,” said Jebha, who is head of a regional farmers’ association.

“Saving Agadir should not be at the expense of El-Guerdan farmers,” he added, speaking by phone.

‘We hope for rain’

El-Guerdan is not alone in facing drought. Morocco’s harvest of cereals this year was less than half that of 2019, meaning hundreds of millions of dollars of extra import costs.

Despite lower production, Moroccan exports of fresh produce have risen this year by 8 percent. 

Critics of the government’s agricultural policy say such sales are tantamount to exporting water itself, given the crops use up so many resources.

A report by Morocco’s social and environmental council, an official advisory body, warned that four-fifths of the country’s water resources could vanish over the next 25 years.

It also warned of the risks to social peace due to water scarcity. In 2017, 23 people were arrested after protests over water shortages in the southeastern city of Zagora.

In January the government said it would spend $12 billion on boosting water supply over the next seven years by building new dams and desalination plants.

One $480 million plant, with a daily capacity of 400,000 cubic meters, is expected to start pumping in March, with the water divided between residential areas and farms.

Until then, “We hope for rain,” the agriculture minister said in parliament.

In El-Guerdan, the farmers are digging for water. A new well costs $20,000-30,000. However, “there is no guarantee water can be found due to the depletion of ground reserves,” said Ahmed Bounaama, another farmer.