SpaceX’s Starlink Internet gets US regulator’s nod for use with ships, boats, planes

SpaceX’s Starlink Internet gets US regulator’s nod for use with ships, boats, planes
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida, on June 29, 2022, carrying a commercial communications satellite. (Florida Today via AP)
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Updated 01 July 2022

SpaceX’s Starlink Internet gets US regulator’s nod for use with ships, boats, planes

SpaceX’s Starlink Internet gets US regulator’s nod for use with ships, boats, planes
  • SpaceX has steadily launched some 2,700 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit since 2019
  • It has amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers, including many who pay $110 a month for broadband Internet

WASHINGTON: The US Federal Communications Commission on Thursday authorized Elon Musk’s SpaceX to use its Starlink satellite Internet network with moving vehicles, green-lighting the company’s plan to expand broadband offerings to commercial airlines, shipping vessels and trucks.
Starlink, a fast-growing constellation of Internet-beaming satellites in orbit, has long sought to grow its customer base from individual broadband users in rural, Internet-poor locations to enterprise customers in the potentially lucrative automotive, shipping and airline sectors.
“Authorizing a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move,” the FCC said in its authorization published Thursday, echoing plans outlined in SpaceX’s request for the approval early last year.
SpaceX has steadily launched some 2,700 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit since 2019 and has amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers, including many who pay $110 a month for broadband Internet using $599 self-install terminal kits.
The Hawthorne, California-based space company has focused heavily in recent years on courting airlines around Starlink for in-flight WiFi, having inked its first such deals in recent months with Hawaiian Airlines and semi-private jet service JSX.
“We’re obsessive about the passenger experience,” Jonathan Hofeller, Starlink’s commercial sales chief, said at an aviation conference earlier this month. “We’re going to be on planes here very shortly, so hopefully passengers are wowed by the experience.”
SpaceX, under an earlier experimental FCC license, has been testing aircraft-tailored Starlink terminals on Gulfstream jets and US military aircraft.
Musk, the founder and CEO of SpaceX, has previously said that the types of vehicles Starlink was expected to be used with pursuant to Thursday’s authorization were aircraft, ships, large trucks and RVs. Musk, also the CEO of electric car maker Tesla Inc, had said he didn’t see “connecting Tesla cars to Starlink, as our terminal is much too big.”
Competition in the low-Earth orbiting satellite Internet sector is fierce between SpaceX, satellite operator OneWeb, and Jeff Bezos’s Kuiper project, a unit of e-commerce giant Amazon.com which is planning to launch the first prototype satellites of its own broadband network later this year. 

 


Saudi POS transactions value up for the first time in three weeks

Saudi POS transactions value up for the first time in three weeks
Updated 20 sec ago

Saudi POS transactions value up for the first time in three weeks

Saudi POS transactions value up for the first time in three weeks

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s value of Point Of Sale transactions increased by SR181.6 million ($48.4 million) last week to SR10.4, according to data from the Saudi Central Bank.

The Kingdom’s POS transaction value grew 1.8 percent in the week ending on Sept. 24, the first rise in three weeks. 

The largest driver of the rise in POS transactions was the SR100.2 billion increase in so-called ‘other’ sectors, which constitutes the subordinate sectors not mentioned in the report. 

  • Clothing and footwear —Up SR90.3 million; was down SR16.7 million previous week 
  • Restaurants and cafes — Up SR86.3 million; was down SR34.2 million previous week  
  • Furniture — Up SR61.9 million; was down SR28.5 million previous week

The most significant drop in POS Transactions was that of food and beverages which amounted to SR118.9 million last week, showed the data. 

  • Education — down SR102.5 million; was down SR214 million previous week
  • Transportation — down SR30.7 million; was down SR8.1 million previous week
  • Gas stations— down SR26.1 million; was down SR4.1 million previous week

The report recorded 5.1 million less POS transactions in the past week, primarily due to a drop in food and beverage transactions of 2.4 million. 

  • Miscellaneous goods and services — down 1 million; down 92,000 previous week
  • Health — down 0.5 million; Up 285,000 previous week 
  • Restaurants and cafes — down 0.5 million; down 63,000 previous week 

Riyadh, which includes the largest share of POS transactions, saw a 3.1 percent drop in the number of sales, but a 0.3 percent rise in their value.

The Kingdom’s capital recorded a total POS value of SR3.3 million, up by SR8.7 million from the week before. 

The number of POS transactions fell by 2.5 million from the previous week, reaching 49.9 million last week. 

Jeddah followed with SR1.6 million worth of POS which increased by SR47.5 million, whereas the number of transactions reached 19.9 million, down 603,000 from the week before.


Big insurance firms needed in Saudi Arabia to invigorate sector: Minister of Finance

Big insurance firms needed in Saudi Arabia to invigorate sector: Minister of Finance
Updated 1 min 18 sec ago

Big insurance firms needed in Saudi Arabia to invigorate sector: Minister of Finance

Big insurance firms needed in Saudi Arabia to invigorate sector: Minister of Finance

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia needs large insurance companies capable of expanding to provide new services in the Kingdom, according to Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan.

Speaking at the Saudi Insurance Symposium in Riyadh on Sept. 28, Al-Jadaan noted that the insurance sector is relatively small in the Kingdom, but the government is concentrating on developing it .

Al-Jadaan noted that strong and large entities need to enter the insurance sector, and made it clear that countries which dominate the insurance sector are all home to large insurance firms.

The finance minister said that a competitive national insurance sector is a necessity for individuals, companies, institutions, and for the country’s gross domestic product.

He also noted that several mergers and acquisitions are happening in the insurance sector and the Capital Markets Authority has developed better rules for these deals.

Khaled Al-Dhaher, deputy governor for control and technology at the Saudi Central Bank, said the insurance sector also has the scope of participatory cooperation between companies along with acquisitions.


‘Saudization’ in the insurance sector at 77%, says Bupa Arabia chairman

‘Saudization’ in the insurance sector at 77%, says Bupa Arabia chairman
Updated 28 September 2022

‘Saudization’ in the insurance sector at 77%, says Bupa Arabia chairman

‘Saudization’ in the insurance sector at 77%, says Bupa Arabia chairman

RIYADH: The share of Saudi employees in the Kingdom’s insurance sector has hit 77 percent, according to Loay Nazer, chairman of Bupa Arabia.

Speaking at the Saudi Insurance Symposium in Riyadh on Sept. 28, Nazer said the insurance sector has created 17,000 jobs in the Kingdom, while Bupa’s market size has reached SR42 billion ($11.16 billion) since its launch 18 years back.

Saudi Arabia launched the ‘Saudization’ labor market strategy to enhance the economic participation of its citizens, with the aim of reaching 60 percent by 2030.

Nazer pointed out that Saudi Central Bank’s cooperation has helped elevate Saudization in the executive category of the insurance sector from 90 to 95 percent.

Nazer added that Bupa was the first in the Kingdom to introduce a 24/7 call center for customers around 17 years ago.

The Saudi Insurance Symposium is one of the largest forums for insurance companies across the Middle East.

The event will be conducted from Sept. 28 to 29, with more than 1,000 insurance specialists, local officials, international managers and executives gathering to discuss developments in the sector.

 


Saudi Maharah’s unit acquires 41% of Care Shield for $90m

Saudi Maharah’s unit acquires 41% of Care Shield for $90m
Updated 28 September 2022

Saudi Maharah’s unit acquires 41% of Care Shield for $90m

Saudi Maharah’s unit acquires 41% of Care Shield for $90m

RIYADH: Growth Avenue Investment Co., a unit of Maharah Human Resources Co., closed the acquisition of a 41 percent stake in Care Shield Holding Co. in a deal valued at SR307 million ($90 million).

The title to the shares was transferred to the buyer, Maharah said in a bourse filing.

The deal was financed in part by the company’s own resources and in part by a loan from Al Rajhi Bank.

Growth Avenue Investment qualifies for a profit share from the acquired stake as of Jan. 1, 2022.

In August, Maharah announced that Growth Avenue had received the General Authority of Competition’s nod to proceed with acquiring Care Shield Holding.


LinkedIn reveals Saudi Arabia’s top 10 startups for 2022

LinkedIn reveals Saudi Arabia’s top 10 startups for 2022
Updated 28 September 2022

LinkedIn reveals Saudi Arabia’s top 10 startups for 2022

LinkedIn reveals Saudi Arabia’s top 10 startups for 2022

RIYADH: Professional networking solution provider LinkedIn has revealed the annual ranking of the top 10 startups based in Saudi Arabia that have demonstrated growth in 2022.

The annual ranking has been analyzed on the basis of the companies’ interactions with LinkedIn members. They are measured through employment growth, company and employee engagement, job interests, and talent attraction.

The top startups in Saudi Arabia for 2022: 

  1. Tamara
  2. Sary
  3. Nana
  4. Zid
  5. Tweeq
  6. Gathern
  7. Lendo
  8. Qawafel
  9. Resal
  10. Shgardi

“KSA’s Top Startups List 2022 reflects the current state of the startups and VC space in the country while also offering insights into the prevailing market trends influencing the community,” said Salma Altantawy, senior news editor at LinkedIn.

The announcement also indicated that fintech witnessed huge traction in the Kingdom with three startups — Tamara, Tweeq, and Lendo — in the sector making to the list.

Delivery services have also grown in popularity with platforms like Nana and Shgardi recording good traction. This is in addition to a rise in B2B solutions as companies like Sary and Qawafel found second and eighth positions, respectively.

“This year’s list sees the emergence of many startups from financial backgrounds. This signifies the increased popularity and growing need for simplified and innovative fintech solutions by consumers in Saudi Arabia,” she added.

To be eligible, LinkedIn said, companies must be independent and privately held, have 50 or more country-based employees, be seven years old or younger, and be headquartered in the country on whose list they appear.