Bridging the broadband gulf

HSPA+ continues to reign supreme as the wireless broadband technology of choice, says Mohammad J. Al-Shehab, CCO, Zain Kuwait

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Bridging the broadband gulf HSPA+ technology will help lead to greater innovations in mobile broadband, says Mohammad J. Al-Shehab, CCO, Zain Kuwait.
By  Mohammad J. Al-Shehab Published  June 14, 2010

The rate of growth of HSPA mobile broadband continues to increase globally. Already heralded as the fastest growing mobile technology of all time, HSPA mobile broadband now boasts more than 214 million connections worldwide with more than 9 million new HSPA connections being added globally every month.

As a key HSPA growth region, the Middle East experiences 447,000 new connections per month. The growing popularity of mobile broadband, in both developed and high growth markets, is one of the key drivers behind the region’s growth in global mobile data revenue.

The launch and ongoing rise of HSPA+ technology across the Middle East is expected to further transform the Internet market and open endless doors for innovation. HSPA+ is a rising phenomenon in the Middle East, capable of delivering peak download speeds in excess of 21Mbps and providing an even more viable alternative to fixed line broadband.

The Middle East after all has an under-developed fixed line infrastructure but millions of residents and businesses desperate for fast, reliable broadband connectivity.

These factors will combine to position the Middle East region as a global leader in terms of mobile broadband adoption per head of population and HSPA+ as an important enabling technology.

There are now six commercially live HSPA+ networks across the Middle East region.  Zain was one of the first mobile operators to deploy the technology.  We started our HSPA+ deployment in Kuwait in order to drive Mobile Broadband network performance and establish clear competitive advantage over existing fixed line players.

Delivering HSPA+

The Gulf has become one of the world’s most exciting and rapidly developing regions, embracing the latest developments in technology and engineering. The same is true with mobile broadband: in Kuwait, we have launched HSPA+ technology to bring fast and abundant broadband services to homes and businesses.

As a multinational mobile group with operations across the Middle East and Africa, Zain serves many countries where telecoms service provision is generally poor. In many of our key operating markets there has been a long-term lack of investment in fixed networks, meaning the quality of services provided to consumer and business customers is lacking, creating an ideal opportunity for mobile voice and data technologies to fill the gaps.

Zain launched HSPA+ technology in Kuwait during 2009, in order to provide our customers with a realistic alternative to the underdeveloped fixed-line network, which has failed to meet demand for broadband connectivity.

While Kuwait has a competitive mobile space, its fixed-line market has not benefited from the same level of innovation, which has been reflected in the products available to customers. Our HSPA+ network in Kuwait offers peak speeds of up to 21.6Mbps — meaning that the services delivered are genuinely comparable with fixed-line alternatives.

While internet access is the most popular use of our HSPA+ network, it can also support multimedia and video applications. For products and services which were designed for mobile from the outset, including mobile browsing from handsets, existing 3G and HSPA networks provide adequate connection speeds.

Fixed substitution

We became quickly aware that with users in Kuwait already dissatisfied with poor fixed broadband services, we would have only one chance to make a good impression with our mobile broadband services by offering high-quality, high-speed connectivity to our user base.

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