Zain KSA has been labelled as the Kingdom’s preferred digital services provider following the great achievements the operator has made throughout its journey. In an exclusive interview with Eng. Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Aldeghaither, CEO, Zain KSA, Telecom Review delved into the operator’s main accomplishments that encompass most importantly having the fourth largest 5G network in the world and the largest in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Read more: Zain KSA empowering the Kingdom’s digital journey

It is no surprise that the industry was dealt an immense blow as soon as COVID-19 hit. Operators and vendors alike, across the world, have had to deal with (or are currently dealing with) an immense burden due to widespread lockdowns and the rise in remote working and learning. This has caused a great deal of pressure on networks everywhere. However, companies have been quick to realize that this may just be the right time to leverage emerging technologies to ensure business continuity and minimize the disruption of business operations.

Read more: Nokia MEA’s CTO talks about 5G, AI, ML and post-pandemic digital transformation

With more than 20 years of experience in business development in telecommunications, Florence Sebastien, CEO, FSE Consulting spoke to Telecom Review about her journey and the role that FSE Consulting is playing today in the industry.

Read more: “Once the crisis is over, a deeper understanding of digitization will appear”, says Florence...

COVID-19 updates

stc announced that its network is currently witnessing a growth in traffic for education and health platforms that have been made available for free. The demand growth rate for distance education has reached 1000%, while it reached 177% for health platforms. Furthermore, the growth rate for remote work for various sectors has reached more than 567%, not to mention the 70% surge in requests to download different applications for these purposes and others. stc has managed to accommodate this surge in demand without affecting the level of service provided to customers.

stc has also fortified the network infrastructure for the mobile sector and the residential sector to ensure providing home entertainment for all ages. This step was taken due to the rise in demand for home internet, as the daily difference between the demand for home internet versus mobile internet increased by more than 80%, which reflects the state of home stability that the country seeks to preserve in order to maintain the safety of citizens and residents. The increase in the demand on social media applications has reached more than 73%. Additionally, the network has been fortified to accommodate a growth rate of over 240% for home gaming without affecting user experience. A 41% increase on demand for TV content like Jawwy TV and other have also been accommodated.

Eng. Haithem Mohammed Alfaraj, senior VP of technology and operations unit, pointed out that stc succeeded in meeting this unprecedented growth in the numbers of users of its network and the volume of traffic generated on its mobile, and landline networks as well as the networks of the government and business sectors, by making the necessary preparations and fortifying the infrastructure that serves the health and educational sectors in particular, and the remote work sector in general. stc managed to successfully leverage all its technical and human capabilities to serve this purpose and added expansions to many departments at many public and private sectors.

Alfaraj highlighted stc’s ongoing pioneering role as a national digital enabler that provides the needed support to ensure the success of the precautionary measures implemented by the State to maintain public safety and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), and to encourage citizens and residents to settle in their homes.

The senior VP of technology and operations unit concluded his statement by saying: "stc is committed to taking all the  precautionary measures to protect its network against any potential cyberattacks by ensuring around the clock monitoring and management, especially with the increase in the number of users that are currently relying on stc’s network for their remote work whether from the government or private sector.”