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.


PepsiCo & SWMC partner to enhance environmental sustainability in KSA

Tamer Mosalam, Vice President & General Manager GCC and Levant, PepsiCo
Updated 03 August 2020

PepsiCo & SWMC partner to enhance environmental sustainability in KSA

PepsiCo and the Saudi Waste Management Center (SWMC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to launch a strategic partnership that aims to enhance sustainability in the Kingdom. The MoU highlights the two parties’ role in promoting sustainability policies based on international best practices to support a circular economy. The agreement was signed by Dr. Abdullah F. Al-Sebaei, CEO and board member of SWMC, and Tamer Mosalam, vice president, general manager GCC and Levant business unit, PepsiCo.
The first sustainability project in the partnership saw Aquafina (the brand of purified bottled water produced by PepsiCo) and the SWMC introduce innovative solutions to facilitate a more environmentally friendly Hajj. To do this, the two parties provided customized smart bins especially built for the event around Makkah’s holy sites. The smart bins can segregate, and crush plastic bottles to minimize plastic waste. The machines operate through solar power and reduce carbon footprint.

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The first sustainability project under the partnership was the implementation of a more environmentally friendly Hajj.

Additionally, an Aquafina recycling awareness campaign encouraged pilgrims to actively participate in making sustainable choices. The results of the project will help inform and guide future projects in next year’s Hajj when the Kingdom will once again welcome back millions of pilgrims to the Kingdom.
To produce the smart bins, PepsiCo delivered on its commitment to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) during COVID-19. The company worked with Cycled to create customizable Aquafina-branded smart bins for this year’s Hajj.
SWMC CEO Al-Sebaei said: “Our partnership with PepsiCo gives us an opportunity to generate more awareness on the importance of sustainable waste collection and develop a proactive culture of recycling.”
Mosalam said: “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, represented by Saudi Waste Management Center.”