Tag Archive | "telecommunications"

DEWA commences Smart Networks and Meters project

As part of the implementation of the Smart City initiative, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has commenced implementation of the Smart Networks and Meters project aiming to replace all mechanical and electromechanical water and electricity meters in Dubai with state-of-the-art smart meters based on the latest global technological specifications.

DEWA has developed a five-year plan to complete the project, estimated to cost AED7 billion, with the DEWA team replacing 250,000 meters in the residential, industrial, and commercial sectors.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said: “The first step in building a Smart City begins with smart networks for water, energy, and telecommunications, which form the backbone of future cities. The combination of smart infrastructure, renewable energy solutions, environmental initiatives and qualified staff will contribute to building a smart future for our city.

“The new smart meters will automatically send usage readings over the latest communications systems, such as fibre optic networks, which will maintain all consumption records and consumer operations. This will make us the first service provider in the region to launch such a platform.”

The smart meters are part of a bi-directional digital communications system. It can update consumption records and send the data automatically to DEWA. Furthermore, the meters will provide DEWA’s customers with detailed information on their monthly consumption, and thus help identify best ways to rationalise consumption to reduce their monthly bills.


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Etisalat’s SME focus

 UAE telecoms giant Etisalat has honed in on its growing client base of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with new data packages tailored for their needs

Representing close to 90% of the country’s businesses, SMEs are recognised as a core part of the UAE’s economy. “The UAE is poised to lead SME investment in the technology sector in the near term,” John Lincoln, Senior Vice President, Business Marketing at Etisalat told the local media. Contributing more than 60% of the UAE’s GDP per annum, this burgeoning faction of the business community is projected to be essential in the nation’s future growth, already providing 86% of all private sector employment.

Primed for the market

Etisalat’s new ‘Business Ultimate’ packages are customised to account for the needs and targets of SMEs, with four affordable bundled packages at AED 99, AED 199, AED 399 and AED 999. All the bundles include local calls, international calls, SMS, local data and the new 4G LTE smartphones at zero cost upfront.

The packages can be purchased as standalone options, or as a one or two year contract where the latest smartphone handsets are included at a subsidised cost. The basic Business Ultimate package for AED 99 includes 130 minutes of call and international calls each, 130 SMS and 130MB of local data. International calling add-ons start at 50 fils per minute on a per-second billing basis. Customers can also chose from multiple add-on options based on their usage patterns. For example, additional data can be added starting at AED60 for an additional 1GB. Etisalat announced that Samsung’s Galaxy S4, BlackBerry’s Q10 and iPhone 5, the most popular smartphones in the region, are available with the plan for the first month.

Global trend

While this move may be a regional first, around the world, telecom giants have been recognising SMEs as a core market for decades. In the UK, telecom leaders, BT and Vodaphone have been zeroing in on their growing client base of SMEs by providing bundled options at lower rates, where fixed lines, internet connections, cloud computing, and mobile phone plans are packaged together for the start-ups and mom-and-pop stores dotting the UK’s business community.

In Singapore, where federal directives have encouraged SMEs since the Asian economic crisis of the late 90s, the two main players in the telecoms market, Singtel and Starhub, have partnered with companies like Cisco to provide cloud solutions for start-ups.

Product bundling

As a principle, product bundling enhances operations across factions, allowing customers to explore services outside their usual interest. For consumers, bundling allows for the instilling of brand loyalty, and ease of use. For telecoms providers, economies of scale and lower marginal costs allow for larger savings. The overall result is a marked increase in efficiency as SMEs benefit from cost effective packages, leading to the efficient use of resources in the business environment.

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Greening the communications sector

After years of notoriety for high levels of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the global communications sector has made notable progress in greening their practices.
Qatar hosted a key meeting last month, facilitating discussions for communications companies to tackle the problems of climate change driven by less sustainable practices in the scetor.
Leading operators including the Qtel Group, Telesol, Milicom, MTN, Zain and Vodafone, as well as technology leaders including General Electric, Eletek, Ameresco Solar and ictQATAR, participated in the GSMA Green Power for Mobile Regional Working Group, which was positioned as an “essential meeting for the industry.”
The communications industry is an increasingly significant contributor to the global consumption of energy, particular as mobile Broadband use places higher power demands on each cell site, and there is greater use of mobile communications and data centres around the world.
Companies in the Qtel Group have looked to play a leading role in this increasingly important area, working to balance the benefits of mobile communication while increasing the responsible use of energy and resources. In Qatar, Qtel was the first company to deploy solar-powered, eco-friendly Base Station sites as early as 2005, while Indosat in Indonesia has deployed more than 100 solar-powered sites to date, and has plans to deploy significantly more in the near term.
A major initiative is also underway to reduce diesel consumption across Qtel Group companies by encouraging the efficient use of an innovative new energy storage solution. More than 1,000 energy efficient sites are on target to be completed by 2012 across the Qtel Group footprint, reducing diesel consumption, including Indosat in Indonesia, Asiacell in Iraq, and Wataniya in Kuwait and Palestine.
Paul Salmon, Chief Technology Officer, Qtel Group, said: “Qtel Group aims to enrich people’s lives, and working to protect the environment plays a major role in the process. We have already made real progress in integrating eco-friendly and high energy efficient technology throughout our regional networks, and we are eager to share our insights with other companies to help make a difference in the developing world.”
“As well as delivering the positive environmental effects of moving away towards efficient energy solutions, the new investment will enable us to reduce expenditure on fuel and power in the medium term, which will contribute to our wider cost optimisation programme,” he added.
The GSMA Development Fund launched the “Green Power for Mobile Programme” in September 2008, in partnership with the International Finance Corporation to promote the development of renewable energies for mobile telecom networks. This project aims to encourage the mobile industry to use renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind or sustainable bio-fuels, to power new and existing off-grid base stations in developing countries.
In a related venture, GSMA has also launched “Community Power from Mobile,” which aims to leverage the scale of mobile technology and infrastructure to provide millions of underserved communities with access to improved energy services. Since the inception of the Community Power from Mobile Programme in November 2010, jointly launched by the GSMA and Lighting Africa, research and analysis has highlighted both the opportunities and challenges in delivering access to energy through mobile.
Over 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity around the world, and in many emerging markets, mobile network operators have become adept at generating their own off-grid power. Based on feedback from mobile operators, it is estimated that one person out of four in Sub-Saharan Africa will not have GSM network coverage in 2012. To reach this population, mobile operators and tower companies are still relying, for the most part, on diesel generators to power telecom towers. Deploying environmentally-friendly towers that can also provide community power offers the opportunity to make an immediate impact.
The two-day workshop is part of a wider on-going strategy to implement attainable green initiatives, in partnership with the GSMA, across all Qtel Group markets. The Working Group is a forum which highlights initiatives and challenges as well as assessing available products and solutions, with the aim of consolidating industry insights and experiences.

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Current Issue October 2013