Displaying items by tag: Middle East
The UAE has adopted a new national AI strategy in the hopes of establishing a brand of artificial intelligence within the nation.
Oracle, in collaboration with Redington, a leading distributor and an Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) partner operating across Middle East and Africa launched a dedicated Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) in Dubai to enable knowledge share and ready availability of Oracle Cloud to help Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN)members develop and implement transformative cloud projects across the Middle East.
European telecommunications vendor Ericsson has compiled another comprehensive Mobility Report and the strategic forecast is projecting that 5G will reach 1.5bn subscriptions by 2024.
5G is expected to reach more than 40 percent global population coverage and 1.5 billion subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by the end of 2024. This will make 5G the fastest generation of cellular technology to be rolled out on a global scale, according to the latest edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report.
Key drivers for 5G deployment include increased network capacity, lower cost per gigabyte and new use case requirements. North America and North East Asia are expected to lead the 5G uptake.
In North America, 5G subscriptions are forecast to account for 55 percent of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2024. In North East Asia, the corresponding forecast figure is more than 43 percent.
In Western Europe, 5G is forecast to account for some 30 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region by end of 2024.
The uptake of NB-IoT and Cat-M1 technologies is driving growth in the number of cellular IoT connections worldwide. Of the 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections forecast for 2024, North East Asia is expected to account for 2.7 billion – a figure reflecting both the ambition and size of the cellular IoT market in this region.
Diverse and evolving requirements across a wide range of use cases are prompting service providers to deploy both NB-IoT and Cat-M1 in their markets.
Mobile data traffic grew 79 percent between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018 – China a key engine
Mobile data traffic in Q3 2018 grew close to 79 percent year-on-year, which is the highest rate since 2013. Increased data-traffic-per-smartphone in North East Asia– mainly in China – has pushed the global figure notably higher.
With a traffic growth per smartphone of around 140 percent between end 2017 and end 2018, the region has the second highest data traffic per smartphone at 7.3 gigabytes per month. This is comparable to streaming HD video for around 10 hours per month.
North America still has the highest data traffic per smartphone, set to reach 8.6 gigabytes per month by the end of this year – which can be compared to streaming HD video for over 12 hours monthly.
Ericsson claims that between the timeframe of 2018-2024, total mobile data traffic is expected to increase by a factor of five, with 5G networks projected to carry 25 percent of mobile traffic by the end of the period.
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, says: “As 5G now hits the market, its coverage build-out and uptake in subscriptions are projected to be faster than for previous generations. At the same time, cellular IoT continues to grow strongly. What we are seeing is the start of fundamental changes that will impact not just the consumer market but many industries.”
The Mobility report also features articles on fixed wireless access and how to make it a reality, streaming video from megabits to gigabytes, and developing the smart wireless manufacturing market.
In-flight broadband has the potential to unlock a $5.2 billion market within the Middle East region by 2035, finds new data released from the 'Sky High Economics: Quantifying the commercial opportunities of passenger connectivity for the global airline industry' report.
Carried out by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in association with global mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat, the study forecasts that airlines in the region will take a $1.3 billion share of the boost in ancillary revenues.
Based on current IATA data and industry sources, Sky High Economics shows that airlines around the world will benefit from four new revenue streams, including broadband access charges - providing connectivity to passengers in-flight.
Airlines will also benefit from e-commerce and destination shopping - making purchases on-board aircraft with expanded product ranges and real-time offers; advertising - pay-per-click, impressions, sponsorship deals with advertisers; and premium content - providing live content, on demand video and bundled W-IFEC access.
The research argues that as passenger numbers grow globally, so too will passenger expectations for access to high-quality in-flight connectivity. The data shows that when it comes to passenger value brought about by new Wi-Fi enabled ancillary revenue streams, airlines will benefit from an extra $3.21 per passenger. At present, airlines around the world average an additional $17 per passenger from 'traditional' ancillary services like duty free purchases and in-flight retail, food and drink sales.
Also, despite the gradual blurring that has occurred in the airline type selected by many business passengers, the Middle East region continues to represent one of the higher revenue opportunities for both domestic and international FSCs (Full Service Carriers) - in 2035, the split is LCC (Low Cost Carriers) at $239m vs. FSC at $511m. The research confirms the very strong position many global FSCs have that are based there.
“The airline industry is rapidly evolving across the world, including the Middle East,” said Dr. Alexander Grous (B. Ec, MBA, M.Com, MA, PhD.), Department of Media and Communications, LSE and author of Sky High Economics. “This research shows that airlines have a clear strategic opportunity to become distinctly more retail-focused and reap the benefits of this.”
Ben Griffin, Vice President, Middle East, Africa and South Asia at Inmarsat Aviation, said the latest advancements in satellite technology have “unlocked exciting new opportunities for airlines to enhance their passenger experience, increase their operational efficiencies and grow important new revenue streams.”
Griffin added, “Having the right capabilities in place - from the cabin to the cockpit - is the key to benefitting from everything that a connected aircraft can offer, today and in the future. As the Sky High Economics report has identified, airlines in the Middle East are extremely well positioned to take a lead with the game-changing new trend.”
Inmarsat said it aims to transform the global aviation industry by bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. It is the first and only provider with a complete next-generation High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) network spanning the world. Inmarsat also claims to be the only aviation broadband provider capable of connecting the complete aircraft from cabin to cockpit.
Inmarsat's passenger solutions are complemented by its certified safety and operations services. GX Aviation is the world's first global, high-speed in-flight broadband service from a single operator. It allows airline passengers to browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an on-board connectivity experience on par with mobile broadband services available on the ground.
According to the latest regional appendix to the upcoming Ericsson Mobility Report, the first 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected during the period 2020 to 2022, reaching around 17 million subscriptions by 2023.
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, which encompasses more than 70 countries, faces extreme market variations in terms of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) maturity, but Ericsson’s Mobility Report nonetheless predicts a region-wide growth in mobile subscriptions from 1.590 million to 2.030 million by the year 2023. Further, the MEA region will witness a nearly five-fold increase in LTE subscriptions, from 190 million to 860 million, in the same timeframe.
Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “Total mobile traffic for the region is forecasted to grow by around 49 percent annually between 2017 and 2023. This rapid growth is seeing operators increasingly exploring methods of optimizing their networks with more capacity and coverage. We are supporting operators across the region throughout the different phases of the network evolution enabling best performing networks and differentiated customer experience.”
The MEA region has a young and growing population with a median age of 21 years which, combined with its improving economy and favorable policies, creates potential for continued growth in the uptake of telecom and ICT services.
Particularly in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), which has higher penetration rates of smartphones, mobile traffic, and mobile data traffic compared to Sub-Saharan Africa, operators will be faced with an increasing demand for faster network capability (lower latency and higher data throughput speeds) to deliver better application coverage for more consumers in the coming years.
Across the MEA region, smartphone subscriptions are expected to increase from 670 million to 1.510 million in the next five years, resulting in data traffic per active smartphone multiplying nearly six times over, from 2.2 GB/month to 12 GB/month.
Today, mobile data traffic in the region represents 83 percent of total mobile traffic, and is expected to increase to 98 percent by 2023, bringing it more in line with the global average. This will require operators to come up with efficient strategies differentiated by exceptional user experiences and optimal network performance.
The Mobility Report’s analysis of these factors considered the different strategies operators employ to approach these demands and found that the greatest challenge they face is employing available tools to maximize network utilization without negatively impacting the user experience. Moving forward, operators will need to find the “sweet spot” between the two, where a good user experience is delivered while still allowing significant volumes of traffic through the network.
On the road to 5G and IoT
The Mobility Report also revealed that the Internet of Things (IoT) is facilitating the digital transformation of industries and providing mobile operators in the MEA with opportunities to explore new revenue streams.
Cellular IoT subscriptions in the region are expected to grow from 35 million to 159 million between 2017 and 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 30 percent. This will enable operators to explore new digitalization opportunities as the world becomes more connected and industries experience an ICT-driven transformation.
In fact, 5G-enabled industry digitalization revenues for MEA are predicted to at USD 242 billion between 2016 and 2026 – meaning ICT players must adopt and integrate digital technologies into specific industries to generate new revenues.
5G will be an important technology in growing industrial digitalization, and despite IoT being in its infancy in much of the region, there are still examples of how it has already helped improve the livelihood of MEA communities and industries.
These include smart agriculture initiatives in Turkey and Africa, remote monitoring of oil wells and temporary networks in case of disasters in Saudi Arabia, and Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) being used to address utilities and smart meters in South Africa. Technologies like 5G and IoT will serve the region’s diverse operator needs by opening up new revenue streams as a result of industry digitization, improving standards of livings in countries across MEA.
Perhaps the most striking and indicative finding of this latest Ericsson Mobility Report for MEA is the fact that, despite being amongst the fewest, LTE connections will show the highest growth rate at 46 percent annually over the next five years.
The report also forecasts that total mobile traffic will continue to rise in both the Middle East and North East Africa, at a compound annual growth rate of 48 percent, driven by higher mobile data traffic and increased penetration of smartphones in the region.
As a result, operators will be faced with increasing demand for faster network capability (low latency and higher data throughput speeds) to deliver better application to enable widespread uptake of the 5G and IoT technologies of the future.
In the face of such widespread technological advancement, operators, governments, and industries are investigating what new opportunities these technologies will bring as the Networked Society comes increasingly closer to reality.
As more devices, sensors, and appliances connect to each other and to the internet, security and sustainability continue to be strengthened and optimized, paving the way for a truly connected world. The resulting technologies will empower people, transform industries, and enable the smart city solutions that will reshape the future in the Middle East and Africa.
Completing five years in the Middle East and North Africa, Facebook opened the doors to its brand new regional headquarters in Dubai on Oct. 27. The 20,000-square-foot space features an open office concept, and showcases regional cultural inspirations through the various designs and artistic cues.
Since launching a local presence in the region in 2012, Facebook has been embraced by users, growing to 164 million monthly active people. With over 60 employees, mostly from the Arab region, Facebook’s office in Dubai acts as a hub.
Over the past five years, Facebook has grown its MENA user base by 264 percent, and now looks to galvanize the digital transformation in the Arab World, collaborating with users and partners to create products and solutions relevant to the region.
The new office houses a strong, purpose-built team, with strong regional experience, that reflects the brand’s mission to give people the power to build communities and bring the world closer together.
Working with companies across a multitude of industries including travel and tourism, finance, media, automotive, FMCG, retail, telecom and start-ups, Facebook has driven both awareness and consideration for global and local brands in the region. Complementing this is the company’s mobile-first strategy as over 156 million users access Facebook on mobile devices every month in MENA.
“This region has embarked on a path of growth and transformation and we aim to be part of it. Our new headquarters is a truly inspiring space, and brings to life the dynamism, creativity and innovative culture of Facebook while reflecting the communities around us,” said Jonathan Labin, Managing Director, Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan at Facebook.
“With its strong business ecosystems, regional connectivity, and access to the best global talent, Dubai and the UAE remain the right place for us to call home in the region,” Labin added. “We are only 1 percent finished in our journey here, and we are excited about what lies ahead in this young, connected, and mobile-first region.”
Facebook’s strong connection to the region is reflected in the Arabic themes used in the new office design, not just limited to quirky meeting room names such as ‘Hommous’, but also with commissioned pieces that blend modern and traditional styles from Emirati artist Eman Al Hashemi, making her the first artist from the Arab world to join Facebook’s Global Artist in Residence program.
Other things to look out for in the office include a maternity room for mothers who choose to bring their children to work, a treadmill desk, and an interfaith room. The office also features an in-house library with a cross-section of publications from global authors.
Designed by INC Group and JLL MENA, the office includes a bright open floor area to encourage collaboration, a mother’s room, an interfaith room, a majlis, with recreational and quiet rooms. The office also features a private terrace with views of the iconic Palm Jumeirah.
Employees have access to a gaming section or can take selfies in a custom-built Instagram anti-gravity room. For those looking for quiet time, the space features ‘acoustic sofas’ as a quieter location for work as well as meeting rooms that reflect the regional culture and sense of humor, including ‘Three Men and a Habibi’, ‘Shawarma’, and ‘Gone with the Sandstorm’.
Expanding their presence in the region, Facebook aims to build on its work with local and regional Arab content creators like The Saudi Reporters, as well as further create opportunities for entrepreneurs by working directly with businesses to develop bespoke strategies that supports their growth.
The next few years will also see Facebook sustaining the momentum of its global #SheMeansBusiness program, launched earlier this year, in partnership with Emirates Foundation, Sheraa Sharjah and Ahead of the Curve in Egypt which aims to train and inspire women entrepreneurs in the region, and use Facebook and Instagram as platforms to reach and grow their audiences.
French satellite company Eutelsat Communications has acquired NOORSAT, one of the leading satellite service providers in the Middle East, from Bahrain’s Orbit Holding Group.
Established in 2004, NOORSAT is the distributor of Eutelsat capacity in the Middle East, serving blue-chip customers and providing services for over 300 TV channels almost exclusively from Eutelsat’s Middle East and North Africa neighborhoods at 7/8° West and 25.5° East.
The acquisition of NOORSAT fits with Eutelsat’s broader strategy of streamlining distribution within selected core video neighborhoods where it can create value. It will allow Eutelsat to strengthen the long term commercial development of its market-leading video positions in the Arabic world and increase its direct access to end-customers, facilitating stimulation of High Definition TV take-up and the up-selling of incremental video services.
Michel Azibert, Eutelsat Chief Commercial and Development Officer, said: “NOORSAT’s capabilities and market knowledge will further consolidate our longstanding position in the dynamic Middle East video market. By integrating NOORSAT’s service platform and teams we are underlining our commitment to serving customers in one of the key markets within in our global footprint.”
Eutelsat has acquired 100 percent of NOORSAT for a consideration of US$75 million, debt free and cash free. The acquisition will add upwards of US$15 million to Eutelsat’s consolidated revenues on an annualized basis after the elimination of the capacity leased by Eutelsat from NOORSAT. Its slightly dilutive impact on Eutelsat’s EBITDA margin will be absorbed within the current margin objectives.
Etisalat Misr (Etisalat Egypt) has signed a four-year contract with Ericsson to modernize and expand its core network and business support systems, which will help the operator to capitalize on the growth in 4G and pave the way for 5G and Internet of Things. The partnership will play an important role in further developing the services offered by Etisalat Misr, one of Ericsson’s largest customers for business support systems.
“We are pleased to be working with Ericsson again on a new project that addresses the evolving requirements of our organization,” said Hazem Metwally, Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Misr. “It will double the capacity of our business support systems, which will allow us to provide more innovation to our customers, resulting in more traffic passing through our network. Ericsson is our trusted partner and has provided valuable support since we launched our services.”
The project will be a significant milestone for Etisalat Misr, allowing shorter time to market, commercial innovation, and improved user experience. It will also have a positive impact on capital and operational expenditure. Subscribers will be able to enjoy highly flexible and personalized offerings, including cross-bundling and add-on services. They will also have access to shared data plans and family offerings, which will provide them with a single bill and a consolidated spending view.
Furthermore, 4G technology will enable efficient means of communication and opportunities for global collaboration and innovation. For example, the project will accelerate the introduction of IMS Voice over LTE, Voice over WiFi, Service Aware Policy Control and Unified Communications.
Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Region Middle East and Africa, said, “This agreement will enable Etisalat Misr to respond very quickly and in a flexible way with new offers to the ever increasing needs of their subscribers. The current massive diversity of applications, services and bundles, that both consumers and business customers wish to use on their multiple devices, requires more flexible provisioning and real-time charging based on advanced systems and solutions, such as our state-of-the-art Business Support System.”
Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia have successfully completed the Middle East's first trial of LTE-Unlicensed, combining unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz frequency band with 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver a downlink speed of 223 megabits per second.
Following the trial, the Nokia technology will be deployed in hotspots, for example, in malls and cafes in Jeddah and around the Holy Mosque in Makkah. The project to develop the use of LTE-U in the Kingdom marks an important step for Zain to offer a superior subscriber experience using unlicensed spectrum.
“There has been exponential growth in the demand for high-speed mobile broadband services,” said Eng. Sultan Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, Chief Technology Officer, Zain Saudi Arabia. “This trial with the support of our longstanding and trusted partner, Nokia, is an important step in our commitment to adopt the latest technological solutions to provide innovative and best possible services to our subscribers. It will also give us a crucial competitive edge.”
Service providers like Zain are looking to technology innovation to serve the ever-increasing data needs of their customers. LTE-U is one such approach, combining traditional LTE with LTE in unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum to enable service providers deliver exceptional service quality without significantly increasing their spectrum expenses.
Small cells are integral to successfully utilizing unlicensed LTE, and Nokia's Flexi Zone multiband small cell technology will support Zain in significantly increasing downlink data rates for mobile devices while also enhancing mobility, security, and the reliability of 4G/LTE connections.
“The trial underlines Nokia's technological excellence and innovation, as well as its commitment to ensuring service providers can provide the best experience to their customers,” said Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia customer team at Nokia. “This deployment will enable Zain to enhance the in-building quality of its service without increasing expenditure.”
Nokia will modernize and expand Zain Iraq's radio networks with its most advanced technologies across Karbala, Najaf and Basra, with a special focus on the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, to support the expected increase in data and voice traffic during the annual Holy event Zeyara as millions of people converge on the region.
Once completed, the upgrade will allow users to enjoy improved indoor and outdoor coverage in both urban and rural areas as well as increased data throughput, leading to an overall superior customer experience.
“Nokia fully understands Zain Iraq's requirements and is committed to providing leading technologies to enable pioneering services for its subscribers,” said Bernard Najm, head of the Middle East Market Unit at Nokia. “Nokia's solutions cater to the unique connectivity requirements of mass events, and will help Zain Iraq address the expected surge in data and voice consumption during Zeyara.”
Nokia's project management and proven services expertise will be used to expand and modernize Zain Iraq's 2G and 3G network, providing ubiquitous coverage and faster mobile broadband.
Additionally, the Nokia Mass Event Handler will be deployed to address the surge in data and voice consumption expected during Zeyara. The network modernization will allow visitors to remain continuously connected with their loved ones through superior voice and data connectivity during Al Arba'een and beyond.
“Our top priority is to provide superior services for our subscribers,” said Ali Al-Zahid, Chief Executive Officer of Zain Iraq. This network modernization and expansion is only the beginning of providing the best possible service quality and coverage with the most advanced technologies across the overall Karbala and Najaf and rest of sourthern region.”
Al-Zahid said Zain Iraq selected Nokia, its longstanding technology partner, for the important project, as the company is “confident that [Nokia’s] advanced technologies will enable our network to provide such superior services. The current project will also enable a best-in-class mobile experience for visitors to Zeyara when we expect a high turnout this year."