Data usage in Arafat up by 90 percent, says STC

For the first time at the holy sites, the Saudi telecom operator allowed pilgrims to use the 5G network in several locations. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 13 August 2019

Data usage in Arafat up by 90 percent, says STC

STC reported a 75 percent increase in data consumption in Muzdalifah this year, with data transmitted over 4G up by 92 percent. An increase in the number of local and international customers choosing STC by 12 percent and 23 percent, respectively, has been reported.

While mobile data usage in Arafat increased by 90 percent, 4G usage grew by 108 percent; customer numbers and international roaming increased by 4 percent. 

For the first time at the holy sites, the telecom operator allowed pilgrims to use the 5G network in several locations, reflecting the technical advancement of the Kingdom’s digital infrastructure, in line with Vision 2030’s digital transformation goals. 

The company also enabled 2,952 access points for Wi-Fi networks distributed in the holy places. STC said it had completed all technical and field preparations to facilitate traffic in Mina. It focused on raising the capacity of the network during the pilgrimage season this year, working to ensure that all outgoing calls from the Kingdom to countries across the world are processed smoothly.

Meanwhile, the number of pilgrims who were served by STC’s critical communication technology, which was used by the General Syndicate of Cars of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on the day of “Tarwiyah” at Mina, amounted to more than 1 million in six hours. 

Using 2,000 transport lines on which the pilgrims boarded 10,000 buses, the union was able to serve pilgrims through a Tetra critical communication network. 

The network, whose capacity was increased during the Hajj season by 31 percent, can accommodate huge working groups, in addition to its high security and high encryption level for calls, and its 99.99 percent dynamic operation in emergencies. Ordinary communication networks are not able to handle call traffic in the case of emergency, especially in crowded locations, such as the holy places, where more than 2 million communication users meet in one place. 

The Ministry of Health also relied on STC’s critical communication technology for running ambulance convoys, which served to transfer ill pilgrims who were hospitalized in Madinah to the other holy places. The ministry relied on a Tetra critical communication network all the way from Madinah to Makkah for a highly seamless experience. 

STC constructed, developed and expanded several sites at the holy places. It established other networks in vital areas of the Kingdom, such as at airports, ports and the industrial zones. It constructed 210 towers, with a plan to cover all major cities and vital regions in the country.


SAGIA, Xylem ink $50m MoU to advance water security

Updated 05 December 2019

SAGIA, Xylem ink $50m MoU to advance water security

Water technology firm Xylem has signed an MoU with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), representing an investment of $50 million. The agreement aims to expand Xylem’s manufacturing footprint into the Kingdom, and to better serve its portfolio of customers in Saudi Arabia and across the region.

Under the MoU, Xylem will work with SAGIA to develop and localize advanced water and wastewater products and technologies to address water challenges in Saudi Arabia, as well as increase its footprint of service points and rental fleets across the Kingdom. A core objective of the MoU is to accelerate adoption of digital water solutions and optimize utility networks across the Kingdom.

The proposed multimillion-dollar investment will not only help build a vibrant local supply chain, but also see Xylem bringing additional commercial opportunities into the Kingdom, with the wider aim of improving water solutions locally. The agreement is in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to promote economic diversification through investments in localization that will also contribute to the export of “Made in Saudi” products across the world.

The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), commonly known as the “Davos in the Desert,” by Ibrahim A. Al-Omar, governor of SAGIA, and Steven Leung, senior vice president and president, emerging markets of Xylem, in the presence of senior officials of both entities and Frank Ackland, managing director Xylem Middle East.

Al-Omar said: “As Saudi Arabia welcomes investors and decision-makers from across the globe to this annual global investment platform, the agreements exchanged here reflect the strength and diversity of the economy. Under Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is undergoing an ambitious program of economic reform, and the world is taking notice. This month, Saudi Arabia climbed 30 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report, becoming the most improved economy globally. The indicators are
clear: Saudi Arabia is not only open for business, it’s the economy of the future.”

Leung added: “As Xylem continues to lead the water sector’s digital transformation globally, this MoU presents an opportunity to leverage our market-leading portfolio and application expertise to advance water security in Saudi Arabia. Through our investment of $50 million, and with our strong presence in Saudi Arabia, backed by our dedicated office and team, we are committed to creating in-Kingdom value through our investments and partnerships. We are thankful to SAGIA for the opportunity to directly contribute our expertise to the development vision of the leadership, as the Kingdom embarks on its ambitious transformation program.”