4G technology redefiningrailway communications

4G technology redefiningrailway communications
Updated 11 May 2013

4G technology redefiningrailway communications

4G technology redefiningrailway communications

Huawei Technologies, China’s ICT major, is on a mission to help governments and transportation authorities understand how a highly secure and reliable communication system is not only crucial to the safety of passengers but will also transform the way railway operators run their businesses for the better.
Dong Wu, vice president, ME Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Technologies, made this observation in a special interview with Arab News.
Dong Wu joined Huawei in 2001 and his key responsibility is to drive the enterprise business in the Middle East market.
His career progressed as a datacom expert leading the global datacom technical sales in Huawei. His valuable contribution was instrumental in laying a solid foundation for Huawei’s MENA datacom market.
He earlier served as the director of datacom for Huawei Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
According to Dong Wu, there will be a greater convergence of mobile and transport communications in the coming years, as the MENA region has become the world’s fastest growing market for rail projects with planned investments in the railway sector of more than $ 250 billion.
An increase in metros, trams and monorail projects will also lead to the rail market almost doubling in size over the next decade, he said, citing a recent MEED Railway Report.

What are the hot railway topics on the agenda in the region?
Over the years, the range of communication solutions for railway has advanced to new heights. From Global Systems for Mobile Communications for Railway (GSM-R), datacom, transmission networks to high speed railway communications (HRC), all of these technologies are experienced by commuters in some form or other when they board the train. While some aspects of this technology may not be visible to the eye, railway communications technology ensures that passengers get from A to B in one piece.
Tell us about your research and development program in relation to railway communications?
Huawei has over 20 R&D centers across the world lending support to its operations. It is also one of the pioneers in ICT for the railway sector. GSM-R (Global Systems for Mobile Communications for Railway) is one of Huawei’s pioneering communication solutions. It is a critical component of railway communications that allows information to be processed from computers in the dispatch room to control train networks and traffic. Without reliable communication between railway traffic controllers and the train driver using GSM-R, the consequences could be disastrous and unthinkable. It has been conducting research in developing GSM-R and other pioneering communication solutions since 2002, with huge investments being made every year. Almost 50 percent of its global resources are dedicated to product development. Huawei’s GSM-R technology is a window on many innovations that differentiates Huawei from the rest of the ICT railway market.

How is Huawei helping to unify the Gulf region through technology?
High Speed Railway Communications (HRC) System is another solution that demonstrates Huawei’s innovative spirit. Based on Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology, also known as 4G technology, LTE helps to define modern railway communications today.
The successful test of HRC on the Maglev train in China is a milestone not only for Huawei but also for railway communications. It demonstrates to the world that Huawei’s HRC systems is not only a pioneering approach to communicating but also has the potential to become a commercial application for a railway system where millions of urban commuters live and move every day.
Some of the successful projects in the region demonstrate Huawei’s innovative spirit in the railway sector for communications technology in the Middle East.
The global ICT vendor was awarded a huge project (in partnership with SELEX Elsag) at the end of 2012 to deploy mobile networks, optical and IP solutions for the Etihad Rail project and is set to connect urban and industrial areas of the UAE and open new links with Saudi Arabia and Oman. The wireless network will guarantee highly sophisticated mobile communications along a 266 km portion of the railway line. Not to forget building the region’s first ever 3G network in 2008 with Etisalat in the UAE and the Dubai Metro that now links up to its 18 stations, allowing passengers and retail owners the experience of Internet access while on-the-move from their smart mobile devices.

How many patents have been awarded to Huawei Technologies?
Huawei Technologies is the main contributor of industry standards with nearly over 18,000 technology patents awarded worldwide, and they continue to reaffirm its strength in delivering future technology-oriented solutions, to serve modern railway communication needs across the globe and the Middle East today. Rolling out over 20 projects around the world covering a total length of 8.000 km of railway tracks in GSM-R, the leading ICT vendor demonstrates its innovative capabilities in a range of communication solutions thanks to its vast experience in wire line, wireless and IP technologies in the telecom market for the past 12 years.
Serving communications network for 45 out of 50 of the world’s top telecom operators in addition to its strong presence in the Middle East with employees of almost 4,000 across 12 countries places Huawei in a unique position to address the railway communication needs of today.
Huawei will continue to demonstrate that its unique position in telecoms will help to develop innovative solutions for communications technology across industries, including modern high speed railways today.


Saudi youth move away from cash, says report

Saudi youth move away from cash, says report
Updated 2 min 15 sec ago

Saudi youth move away from cash, says report

Saudi youth move away from cash, says report
  • Revenue in the Saudi e-commerce market is projected to reach $7.05 billion in 2021, according to data firm Statista

RIYADH, DUBAI: Saudi youth are increasingly drawn toward using digital payment channels rather than cash, a trend indicating that the Kingdom’s plan to create a cashless society is on course.

Only 18 percent of Saudis aged between 16 and 22 years use cash, while almost half of the people who are 60 and above still prefer using cash, a report by Fintech Saudi showed.

The report also showed that only 20 percent of the population in the central region of Saudi Arabia, which includes the capital Riyadh, use cash in their everyday transactions, while 37 percent of those living in the western region, use paper money in their daily dealings.

The use of paper currency is declining at a rapid pace.

Fintech Saudi survey results showed that around 60 percent of individuals Kingdom-wide still use paper money at least once a week and one out of four people in Saudi Arabia uses cash every day.

Under Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom aims to increase the number of non-cash transactions to 70 percent by 2025.

“The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak has led to an acceleration in cashless activity with digital payments increasing by 75 percent over the last year, while cash withdrawals from ATMs and other payment points have declined by 30 percent over the same period,” the report said.

Revenue in the Saudi e-commerce market is projected to reach $7.05 billion in 2021, according to data firm Statista. 

The numbers are expected to show an annual growth rate of 5.38 percent in the coming years, resulting in a projected market volume of $8.69 billion by 2025.


Gulf economies expected to grow 2.2 percent this year, says World Bank

Gulf economies expected to grow 2.2 percent this year, says World Bank
Updated 10 min 49 sec ago

Gulf economies expected to grow 2.2 percent this year, says World Bank

Gulf economies expected to grow 2.2 percent this year, says World Bank
  • Most GCC countries are expected to continue to post deficits over the coming years
  • The countries that posted the largest deficits in 2020 — Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman — are expected to remain in deficit until 2023

RIYADH: Economies of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will likely grow at an aggregate 2.2 percent this year after a 4.8 percent contraction last year caused by the pandemic and lower oil prices, the World Bank said on Wednesday.

“With recent progress made with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine globally and with the revival of production and trade worldwide, the prospects for an economic recovery are firmer now than at the end of last year,” it said in a research report.

“Although downside risks remain, the forecast stands for an aggregate GCC economic turnaround of 2.2 percent in 2021 and an annual average growth of 3.3 percent in 2022–23.”

It remains vital for GCC countries — which include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE — to diversify their economies, the World Bank said, as oil revenues account for over 70 percent of total government revenues in most GCC countries.

It said it expects Kuwait and Qatar to introduce a value-added tax (VAT) this year, following the example of other GCC states that have implemented the revenue-diversifying measure in different phases over the last few years.

On the fiscal side, most GCC countries are expected to continue to post deficits over the coming years, the World Bank said, after shortfalls intensified last year because of the coronavirus crisis.

The countries that posted the largest deficits in 2020 — Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman — are expected to remain in deficit until 2023, but with narrower ratios than in the 2020 downturn. While a rebound in oil prices may lift economic prospects in the short term, the World Bank said downside risks to its outlook are “extremely high” because of the region’s heavy exposure to global oil demand and the service industries.

“Mobility restrictions including for international travel may hurt attendance at future high-profile events in the GCC — the 2020 (rescheduled to 2021) World Expo in the UAE and the 2022 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in Qatar,” it said.


SABB records net profit of $504 million

SABB records net profit of $504 million
Updated 15 min 42 sec ago

SABB records net profit of $504 million

SABB records net profit of $504 million

JEDDAH: The Saudi British Bank (SABB) recorded a net profit after zakat and income tax of SR1,889 million ($504 million) for the six months ended on June 30, 2021.

This is an increase of SR7,785 million or 132 percent compared to the loss of SR5,896 million for the same period in 2020.

Operating income of SR3,984 million for the six months ended June 30, 2021, a decrease of SR703 million, or 15 percent, compared to SR4,687 million for the same period in 2020.

Lubna Suliman Olayan, board chair of SABB said: The bank’s “performance in the second quarter of 2021 builds on the progress made in the first quarter of the year, as we continue the implementation of our five-year strategic plan.”

She said the bank is now focused on supporting the Kingdom’s economic transformation.


Yemen central bank injects old riyal bills worth billions into market to challenge Houthi ban

Yemen central bank injects old riyal bills worth billions into market to challenge Houthi ban
Updated 04 August 2021

Yemen central bank injects old riyal bills worth billions into market to challenge Houthi ban

Yemen central bank injects old riyal bills worth billions into market to challenge Houthi ban
  • The Houthi ban has forced travelers to Sanaa and other areas controlled by the militant group into buying old banknotes from the black market at a higher rate

ALEXANDRIA: The Central Bank of Yemen in Aden has injected billions of riyals in old large-sized 1,000 banknotes into the market to address a chronic shortage of cash.

The bank also implemented several other economic measures to control the chaotic exchange market and put an end to the fall in the Yemeni riyal.

Since late 2019, the Iran-backed Houthis have banned the use of banknotes printed by the Yemeni government in Aden, creating a severe cash crunch in areas under their control which has led to local exchange firms and banks stopping paying salaries and raising remittance charges.

The Houthi ban has forced travelers to Sanaa and other areas controlled by the militant group into buying old banknotes from the black market at a higher rate and carrying Saudi riyals or US dollars.

In a challenge to the Houthis, the central bank has put billions of riyals in old banknotes into the market and started withdrawing the newly printed 1,000 banknote. Yemenis can get old banknotes from local banks and exchange firms.

However, the Houthis warned people against using the large banknotes and published copies and serial numbers of the newly circulated cash.

In a bid to regulate the exchange market and curb the plunging value of the riyal, the central bank has tightened regulations for opening new exchange shops or firms, demanding that applicants produce a three-year feasibility study prepared by a certified accountant showing estimated budgets.

Existing exchange companies must now send their annual financial statements to the bank, use an approved software for their financial activities, apply international financial reporting standards, and audit their accounts by accountants certified by the central bank.

Some Yemeni economists, however, have cast doubt over the central bank’s ability to enact the regulations after the Yemeni riyal on Wednesday broke another historic record low against the dollar.

Local money traders told Arab News on Wednesday that the Yemeni riyal was trading at 1020 to the dollar in government-controlled areas, compared to less than 980 a month ago. When the war broke out in late 2014, the Yemeni riyal was sold at 215 to the dollar.

The Yemeni government previously relocated the central bank’s headquarters from Sanaa to Aden, floated the Yemeni riyal to bridge the gap between the official rate and the black market, closed many exchange shops, and printed billions of riyals to pay public servants. But all the measures proved ineffective on the ground as the Yemeni riyal continued to drop.

Waled Al-Attas, an assistant professor of financial and banking sciences at Hadhramout University, told Arab News: “The central bank is required to control the market and close unlicensed exchange shops in parallel with tightening control and procedures on existing exchange entities.”

He noted that the latest injection of cash into the market had boosted foreign currency speculation activities and pushed up inflation.

“The large 1,000 banknote that the central bank pumped into the market represents an additional burden and additional liquidity that will cause more inflation, higher prices, and speculation on exchange rates,” he added.

The continuing devaluation of the Yemeni riyal has pushed up food and fuel prices in government-controlled areas and triggered protests.


Cryptocurrencies look up despite regulatory issues

Cryptocurrencies look up despite regulatory issues
Updated 04 August 2021

Cryptocurrencies look up despite regulatory issues

Cryptocurrencies look up despite regulatory issues

RIYADH, DUBAI: While regulatory issues continue to chase cryptocurrencies, their stock saw a rise on Wednesday with Bitcoin trading higher by 1.28 percent to $39,037.94 at 5 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $2,609.22, up 3.56 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

The pressure on the digital currency continues, as HSBC became the latest lender to have suspended payments to cyrptocurrency exchange platform Binance in the UK.

“We have made this decision due to concerns about the possible risks to you,” the bank said in a statement, where it cited a consumer warning by the country’s financial regulator.

Regulators in Malaysia, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Germany have previously issued warnings against Binance.

HSBC earlier said it was not planning to launch a crypto trading desk or offer digital coins as an investment, describing these assets as “volatile” and lacking of transparency.

But Wells Fargo, one of the largest wealth managers in the US, has a different stance on cryptocurrency, as it recently launched crypto investment offerings to its clients.

This was confirmed to Business Insider by the company’s spokesperson, Bitcoin.com has reported.

Also in the US, NCR Corp., a global leader in ATM software applications, said it was acquiring Libertyx, an American crypto company that claims to be the US “first and largest network of bitcoin ATMs, cashiers, and kiosks.”

In Argentina, two blockchain-based digital identity projects are being developed, according to a report by Bitcoin.com.

One of the projects is aimed at improving government-citizen relationships in Misiones, and the other seeks to promote financial inclusion in the Gran Chaco region. They are being organized by Project Didi, which financed by the Inter-American Development Bank.