Zain KSA, the leading telecommunications and digital services provider, has been delivering essential communication services to millions of customers across Saudi Arabia for years. With a focus on innovation and customer satisfaction, the company has become a prominent player in the industry.
Recognizing its role as an enabler of nationwide digital transformation and an advocate of technology for sustainability, Zain KSA has been committed to making a meaningful impact toward the advancement of the Saudi economy and society by serving Saudi Vision 2030 and its giga-projects, including NEOM, MODON and The Red Sea tourism destination. By actively contributing to these flagship developments, Zain KSA aims to contribute to the sustainable development of Saudi Arabia while preserving the natural environment for generations to come.
One pioneering initiative in this regard is the zero-carbon 5G network at The Red Sea. The success story of Zain KSA's groundbreaking collaboration with the multi-project developer Red Sea Global (RSG) stems from shared values and sustainable foresight.
With its aim to transform a large portion of the Red Sea coastline into a sustainable, regenerative tourism destination, RSG is creating a new tourism model with regeneration at its core. Likewise, Zain KSA places a strong emphasis on sustainability with a focus on environmental responsibility through a comprehensive Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy that aligns with the national goals and aspirations as well as the global sustainable development goals.
This is the story of an inspiring journey powered by a shared commitment to make a real difference, combined with remarkable technical capabilities and an extraordinary capacity to harness ultra-modern technology in the service of sustainability.
Unleashing a Zero-Carbon-5G Revolution
The partnership to establish a sustainable 5G network at The Red Sea destination starts with Zain’s stellar 5G journey. Following the launch of its 5G network in Saudi Arabia — the largest in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at the time of rollout — Zain KSA became the first MENA operator to introduce 5G Stand-Alone. This was followed by the rollout of multiple enhanced 5G technologies, including 5G 3CC. Zain KSA’s world-class network was complemented by a large-scale vertical expansion that ushered in new innovative use cases across a wide range of consumer sectors, in addition to a full suite of enterprise solutions.
This deep expertise in establishing high-speed data networks has made Zain KSA the partner of choice for RSG in building an unprecedented 5G network solution. “As a leading digital provider in the Kingdom, Zain KSA extends its commitment to creating a flawless experience exclusive for the guests of Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea resort, by facilitating an unprecedented and highly efficient 5G network solution for the destination,” said Zain KSA CEO, Eng. Sultan A. AlDeghaither.
“We aspire to be global pioneers of regenerative tourism development, adopting 100% renewable energy at our flagship destination, The Red Sea, and working towards the achievement of a 30% net conservation benefit by 2040. These ambitious goals demand ambitious partners, and our collaboration with Zain KSA transcends telecommunications, extending into sustainability and environmental protection,” commented Red Sea Global Group CEO John Pagano.
High-Speed Connectivity Powered by ESG Ambitions
The decision to create the world’s first zero-emission 5G network encompasses both technical objectives and ESG goals. “Together, we are determined to make a meaningful impact that sets new standards for sustainable development”, added Pagano. The world-first 5G carbon-neutral project will achieve three primary goals: preserving the environment during setup, reducing emissions by utilizing renewable energy during operation and mitigating visual disruption.
From a technical aspect, RSG aims to build and manage a state-of-the-art 5G network that will enable seamless connectivity, faster data speeds and enhanced user experiences. This will support an elevated lifestyle that befits the company’s vision of the Red Sea region as an avant-garde coastal destination.
Zain KSA's role in the deployment and management of 5G infrastructure at The Red Sea extends beyond digital empowerment. The primary focus is addressing the global challenge of climate change and minimizing ecological footprints.
Sustainability at the Core
The journey began when Zain KSA and RSG discovered their shared vision of enhancing quality of life with a commitment to sustainability and a true willingness to protect the present and future of people and the planet. Zain KSA was already dedicated to developing 5G networks, seeing the value of the technology in improving lives and empowering the nationwide digital transformation in the Kingdom. RSG was well on its way with its first two developments, The Red Sea and Amaala, both propelling the mission to redefine regenerative tourism in Saudi Arabia and beyond.
Both companies were thrilled upon realizing the potential of their collaboration on a world-first endeavor to sustainably harness the abundant renewable resources of the Red Sea region to enhance the lives of people and preserve the ecosystem. This shared passion inspired both organizations to team up on a journey that would revolutionize the future of technology — a future where progress and environmental responsibility go hand in hand.
The idea of empowering human development with no impact on nature seemed too good to be true at first. However, through the combined efforts of the teams of Zain KSA and RSG, the project began to progress at a remarkable pace. The planning phase was initiated, with each step carefully crafted to serve the sustainability goals of both organizations and out of genuine consideration of the region's fragility and rich biodiversity. The network plans emerged based on extensive environmental studies and analysis that involved the potential impact on each species in the region and their homes. Comprehensive surveys documented the area's biodiversity, taking special care to avoid disturbing the natural habitats of turtles and other creatures in the area. Every decision was taken with the same diligence to ensure the protection of the region’s rich ecosystems and natural landscapes below the sea and on land.
With a focus on combating visual pollution, Zain KSA's unique design for the network features small towers that seamlessly blend with the natural surroundings, in line with RSG’s goal of developing less than one percent of the total area of The Red Sea destination. These towers are aesthetically pleasing and do not disrupt the golden and azure landscape of the region. Underscoring the project’s commitment to fostering home-grown innovation and promoting the utilization of local content and resources, the network is being constructed through towers made with locally-sourced material.
Zain KSA has also adopted the latest infrastructure deployment solutions to eliminate carbon emissions throughout the construction of the network, which will be powered by renewable energy from over 760,000 solar panels. The collaborative approach also involves creating towers that can be shared with other telecom operators. This not only helps optimize resource utilization but will also reduce the need for multiple towers, minimizing the overall impact on the environment.
The revolutionary project is a critical part of the ICT infrastructure within The Red Sea destination’s 90-island archipelago and will push the boundaries of sustainability, protecting every element of its diverse ecosystems.
Transforming the Red Sea Region With 5G
The technologies of 5G and 5G Advanced are driving profound transformations across virtually all sectors, playing an indispensable role at the core of modern advancements and reshaping how people interact with the world around them.
Within The Red Sea initiative, 5G plays a pivotal role in enabling innovative applications that enhance the project's functionality and environmental conservation efforts. Al-Deghaither emphasizes that the Green-5G network, meticulously designed for the region's unique needs, promises high-speed connectivity to residents, tourists and businesses alike: “Consider the impact of 5G in terms of IoT, where it facilitates the seamless connection of countless devices, enabling real-time data collection and analysis. This has far-reaching implications for a wide range of industries, including smart hospitality and healthcare, both key pillars of regenerative tourism.”
In the context of environmental enhancement, 5G will underpin around 2,500 IoT sensors throughout key locations, including coral reefs, lagoons and turtle nesting sites. These sensors are essential for real-time monitoring and measurement, supporting RSG’s ambitious goal of achieving a 30 percent net enhancement of its environmental conservation value by 2040.
Geared to welcome its first guests in 2023, The Red Sea will offer visitors tech-enhanced experiences with improved navigation, access to unique insights and personalized recommendations. The destination will also ensure guest experiences take a universally inclusive approach supported by smart city functionalities to enhance luxury tourism experiences for everyone. These tailored experiences can turn each visit to The Red Sea into an immersive adventure amid the natural beauty and wonder of the place.
Extending This Success to Broader Horizons
The Red Sea zero-emission 5G network represents a pioneering initiative that showcases innovative concepts and technologies dedicated to enhancing the well-being of all. Balancing human prosperity with environmental preservation, the groundbreaking project reaffirms a deep-rooted commitment to supporting Saudi Vision 2030’s goals for nationwide digital transformation and sustainability, including the goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and localize technology.
The invaluable technical expertise gained from the project will enhance Zain KSA’s position in the field of sustainable connectivity. “By setting new standards for an emission-free, tech-enhanced world, we are pursuing strategic industry goals of localizing the ICT industry and reducing the carbon footprint.
This will further advance the Kingdom’s position as a digital hub, championing a future powered by sustainable tech,” Al-Deghaither pointed out.
While this network has been uniquely designed for The Red Sea, its success does not preclude the possibility of replicating and expanding the project to other areas in Saudi Arabia, the region, and the world. By extending the experience to other regions, Zain KSA and RSG will achieve their common goal of catalyzing sustainable development and leaving a positive, enduring impact within the Kingdom and beyond.
The Red Sea stands as a vibrant embodiment of Saudi Arabia's commitment to sustainability and economic transformation. This regenerative tourism destination not only elevates the nation's luxury tourism and sustainability offerings but also sets a global example by prioritizing the well-being of people and the planet, safeguarding and enhancing the natural environment, and bringing forth a legacy of environmental stewardship for generations to come.
In parallel, Zain KSA's commitment to sustainability and climate change mitigation is an integral part of a broader vision of enriching the environment for future generations. Their holistic approach has proven instrumental in enhancing environmental well-being, raising living standards and ensuring sustainability.
The remarkable story of The Red Sea’s fully sustainable 5G network reflects a shared dedication to creating a digital ecosystem that is both technologically advanced and environmentally conscious. “Zain KSA has demonstrated a deep understanding of our requirements and provided us with the services and solutions necessary to achieve our strategic objectives,” Pagano indicated.
The zero-carbon 5G project represents a remarkable milestone in digital transformation, marking the beginning of a new chapter of leveraging cutting-edge innovation to serve the environment and introducing a world-first solution that sets the stage for a new era of connectivity. As we eagerly anticipate the full realization of The Red Sea 5G vision, there is no doubt that this pioneering initiative will leave an indelible mark on the region and inspire similar endeavors worldwide. In the words of Zain KSA’s CEO, “This is a pioneering step in our journey to leverage tech for sustainability.”