Mecca, Saudi Arabia, January 10, 2013]: Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, announced that it will continue to provide Saudi Arabia STC with Key Event Assurance service and ensure stable network operations during Hajj, the world’s largest annual pilgrimage event which takes place in Mecca. Huawei has successfully provided assurance service for STC during Hajj for the past eight consecutive years, to provide millions of subscribers with an improved network experience.
In 2012, over 3 million people gathered in and around Mecca for Hajj. During that time, the number of STC’s network subscribers in the holy areas surpassed 2.7 million, of which more than 248,000 were roaming subscribers. The number of mobile users in Mecca increased by 16%, leading to a 50% increase in voice services traffic. Data services traffic also increased by 228% from the previous year and busy hour call attempts (BHCA) peaked at 37 times higher than usual. To guarantee communications throughout this period of high traffic, Huawei offered its Key Event Assurance service to STC. The service enables precise traffic forecasting and flexible network adjustment before the event, real-time traffic monitoring and dynamic network adjustment during the event; allowing STC to achieve smooth and non-interrupted network operations throughout the Hajj period.
“The successful assurance of stable network operations during Hajj has once again proven why Huawei is one of the most valued partners of STC,” said Bandar Mohammed Al Qafari, Vice President for STC’s Network.
Huawei Key Event Assurance Service guarantees network availability and the provision of basic voice and SMS services to ensure quality services and an improved user experience. Huawei continuously optimizes E2E service solutions for customers across various domains including proactive assurance, key event assurance, contingency plan management, network and service quality improvement, and customer experience management in order to effectively synergize operators’ strategies and end users’ requirements.
Saudi Telecom Company (STC) was established in 1998 as the state-owned provider of all public telecoms services in Saudi Arabia, enjoying monopolies in its domestic mobile and fixed markets until 2005 and 2009, respectively, whilst it was partially privatised in 2003. With domestic competition toughening rapidly, since 2007 STC has switched its primary focus to foreign expansion, setting a target of generating 10% of revenues through international operations by end-2010, a goal it comfortably exceeded two years early in 2008, by which time its overseas subsidiaries earned 22% of its annual sales. More than 32% of revenues came from international units by 2011, with STC having expanded to nine countries, including Turkey, Bahrain, Kuwait, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Africa and India. Several of STC’s strategic investments have been entered into via non-majority stake purchases, but the firm has looked to convert these to controlling stakes where possible. In mid-2007 the Saudi group spent USD3 billion on a minority stake in Binariang, the indirect owner of Malaysian cellco Maxis Mobile, which also gave it an interest in Maxis’ Indonesian cellular arm Axis (formerly NTS). STC subsequently increased its share of the Indonesian firm by 29.1% to 80.1% in April 2011, allowing it to fully consolidate Axis into its group reporting that quarter. Maxis also holds a stake in Indian cellco Aircel. Elsewhere, in January 2008 STC invested USD2.6 billion in a 35% stake in Oger Telecom, the Lebanese-controlled firm which has interests in Turkey (Turk Telekom) and South Africa (Cell C), plus a couple of internet operations – branded Cyberia – in Lebanon and Jordan. By end-June 2012 the group’s global proportionate wireless subscriber base was calculated at 56 million, roughly half of which comes from Saudi Arabia.