Kuwaiti shoppers log on

Intel and Kuwaiti service provider, Smartlink Telecom, have opened the first wireless mall in the Middle East.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  May 27, 2004

Intel and Kuwaiti service provider, Smartlink Telecom, have opened the first wireless mall in the Middle East. The newly Intel verified wireless network was inaugurated at Kuwait’s Marina World shopping complex. The hotspot covers both the Marina Mall and Marina Crescent areas of the site and is the first such network to be deployed in a mall in the region. Intel used the launch to confirm that it has now verified over 30 hotspots in Kuwait, including hotspots in cafes, hotels, music shops and education centres. The firm went on to estimate that this many should go operational over the course of this year. "By collaborating closely with service providers and system integrators to ensure that their wireless solutions and the Intel Centrino mobile technology work well together, Intel supports driving the wireless wave across the region and is committed to helping business users as well as leisure seekers get access to mobile solutions as part of an enhanced lifestyle," said Toni Prince, business development manager, Telcos & ISPs, Intel Middle East and Africa. "We are confident that the availability in Kuwait of laptops based on the latest in Intel Centrino mobile technology will help students, business people and leisure seekers to satisfy their ever-growing need for wireless internet access." Earlier this year Gartner Group predicted that the number of worldwide wireless hotspot users will rocket from 2003’s figure of 9.3 million up to 30 million customers. While hotspots have been quick to spring up in Europe and the US, their rollout has been slower in the Middle East, although Intel says it is working hard to rectify this. For instance, Alashaya Retail, the franchise operator of Starbucks Coffee outlets across the region, is planning to set up between 75 and 100 hotspots in its stores. Also, Saudi Arabian ISP Awalnet said that it is planning to launch over 100 hotspots in the Kingdom in the near future.

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