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Pilgrims stay connected during the Hajj

by david.nunes

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – November 30, 2011



Pilgrims stay connected during the Hajj

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) teams with Nokia Siemens Networks to ensure network availability and up to 42 Mbps mobile broadband


Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has once again successfully handled the upsurge in mobile traffic during the holy Hajj pilgrimage, which in the western calendar took place this year between 3 to 9 November. Nokia Siemens Networks, STC’s preferred mobile equipment and services supplier, ensured connectivity for thousands of STC subscribers and millions of pilgrims. There was an average increase of 500%, and a peak increase of 760%, in STC’s 3G traffic during the pilgrimage. Despite this huge increase in traffic and capacity load, network performance remained high, providing an optimal service for pilgrims. Nokia Siemens Networks is the sole GSM and 3G radio supplier for STC’s network in Mecca, Medina, and other pilgrim areas, and has been providing Hajj service support for over a decade.


The Hajj is a week-long pilgrimage when millions of visitors move through Masha’er; from Mina to Muzdalifah along to Arafat, an area of 15 square kilometers. Nokia Siemens Networks’ association with the Hajj pilgrimage dates back to the year 2001, when it built STC’s network in Mecca to accommodate the heavy traffic during Ramadan*. This year, the peak hour traffic reached one million erlangs** on the day of Eid on November 6.


“Nokia Siemens Networks has once again stepped up to the task, giving us the necessary support to handle high density traffic during the Hajj,” said Bandar Algafari, vice president, Networks Sector at STC. “The challenge this year was to handle the dramatic increase in data traffic driven by an increased uptake in the use of smartphones. Pilgrims were sharing their experiences by taking pictures, uploading those to social networking sites, sending MMSs and surfing the internet. We are happy to have served all our subscribers and roaming visitors, thanks to Nokia Siemens Networks’ extensive support services and expertise in handling events of this size.”


“We understand the importance of the Hajj and what it means to pilgrims coming from across the world,” added Teo Tuomas Hirvonen, head of STC business at Nokia Siemens Networks. “Coping with high-density traffic in such a confined space requires robust equipment and reliable performance. It was thus absolutely essential for us to make sure that services work smoothly during this critical period, and subscribers are able to connect with friends and family both back home and on the pilgrimage.”


Nokia Siemens Networks deployed HSPA+ to deliver speeds of up to 42 megabits per second (Mbps). To meet the increased demand for network capacity and avoid any degradation in network performance during exceptional traffic and load conditions, the vendor provided its Special Event Support services***. This involves comprehensive managed services, including network design planning, and optimization services, as well as full care and field support for the network. This allowed STC to offer subscribers improved data services such as live video calls. Nokia Siemens Networks also took complete responsibility of supply, installation, integration and commissioning of equipment.


In the future, operators can further improve the management of unpredictable broadband traffic by evolving to Liquid Net****. This radical new approach from Nokia Siemens Networks unleashes frozen network capacity and efficiently allocates resources to fulfill unpredictable demand, wherever and whenever people use broadband. This will allow operators to be even better prepared for events such as the Hajj pilgrimage, or new services introduced in the internet without knowing release dates and the impact it can have on their network.



About Nokia Siemens Networks

Nokia Siemens Networks is a leading global enabler of telecommunications services. With its focus on innovation and sustainability, the company provides a complete portfolio of mobile, fixed and converged network technology, as well as professional services including consultancy and systems integration, deployment, maintenance and managed services. It is one of the largest telecommunications hardware, software and professional services companies in the world. Operating in 150 countries, its headquarters are in Espoo, Finland. www.nokiasiemensnetworks.com


Talk about Nokia Siemens Networks’ news at http://blogs.nokiasiemensnetworks.com and find out if your country is exploiting the full potential of connectivity at www.connectivityscorecard.org



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