Networks Primed For Hajj Operations
Saudi Arabian mobile operators have prepared their networks for the 2013 Hajj in mid-October . T he annual Muslim pilgrimage, which draws millions of visitors from around the world, provides a seasonal boost to the Saudi telecoms market, with operators recording significant subscriptions and revenue growth during the event. It is therefore not surprising that operators are keen to improve key operational and financial indicators , albeit it temporarily, by ensuring that their networks are able to cope with the surge in subscriptions and usage.
Mobile market leader and incumbent operator STC disclosed that it has expanded its network capacity by 30% to accommodate the voice and data needs of 31mn users. The operator also expanded its Wi-Fi network to more than 400 locations covering key areas in holy places. Zain and Mobily have taken similar steps. In September, Mobily awarded a contract to Ericsson to expand and enhance it network capacity to enable it cope with additional traffic during the Hajj. In addition to improving its network, Zain launched new service packages specifically for pilgrims participating in this year's Hajj.
BMI believes the experiences of previous pilgrimages, especially with the increasing use of data-centric services and applications in the last few years, is driving operators' strategies aimed at taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the annual event. Mobily reported data traffic growth of 502% in some locations during the 2012 while STC processed over 2,750TB of internet traffic, 100% more than the previous year, and 40% increase in voice traffic compared to the previous year.
|Hajj Offers Growth Amid Saturation|
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