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Intel WiMax’d up in KSA

Intel deploys a fixed WiMax solution with data provider ITC for its Riyadh offices, claiming a regional first for the use of the technology.

Intel has deployed a fixed WiMax solution with data provider ITC for its Riyadh offices, claiming a regional first for the use of the technology.

“Saudi Arabia is making major strides to increase IT adoption and grow the technology sector, and Intel is committed to its role as an enabler, working to help provide the latest systems and infrastructure. To have Intel’s Riyadh office using WiMAX is a reflection of Riyadh’s determination to become a genuine digital city,” said Samir Al-Schamma, the firm’s general manager for the GCC countries.

Intel employees in the Saudi capital will now use the networking technology to connect to the company network and a broadband internet connection supplied by Nesma Internet. Integrated Telecom Company (ITC), Intel’s partner in the deployment, will be rolling out its own WiMax network later this year.

Dr Mohammed Omar, president of ITC, said: “WiMax is bringing the fixed broadband and mobile worlds together, as WiMax offers cost-effective ‘last-mile’ connectivity to areas that are too expensive to serve with wired technologies. WiMax offers a fast track for digital change in Saudi Arabia.

“We have started installation of WiMAX base stations in Riyadh city for testing purposes and also serving certain immediate corporate customers’ requirements. The results are encouraging and we are looking forward to a wider deployment in the next few months.”

Intel is now using the 3.5GHz fixed version of WiMax (IEEE 802.16-2004), and expects the mobile version (IEEE 802.16-2005) to be finalised later this year. This new version promises to deliver full roaming capabilities to users moving between different coverage areas.

Last year Intel chairman Craig Barrett visited Saudi Arabia, and pledged a US$50 million venture capital fund to invest in IT companies in the region working on innovative hardware, software and services projects.

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