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Dr. Saad Al Khatani, Group CSO of Saudi Telecom Company (STC), believes smart pipes are the only way to effectively offset the high set-up and running costs of modern broadband networks, and maintain Quality of Service to the customer as new applications and services are added.
September 30, 2011
Dr. Saad Al Qhatani, Group CSO of Saudi Telecom Company (STC), believes smart pipes are the only way to effectively offset the high set-up and running costs of modern broadband networks, and maintain Quality of Service to the customer as new applications and services are added.
Speaking in the keynote sessions at Day 3 of the Broadband World Forum currently taking place in Paris, Al Khatani said that broadband has played an important role in reshaping the Middle East’s political system since the start of the Arab Spring uprisings, and cited Ovum forecasts that broadband revenues in the MENA region will grow 16 per cent over the next five years—with mobile revenues growing much faster than fixed.
According to Al Khatani, industry observers often put the cart before the horse when describing broadband growth: it is the ability to run multimedia applications and value-added services which is driving growth in high-speed connections, rather than the other way round, he believes.
As broadband penetration and speeds continue to rise however, telcos are going to need to really understand the segments of their customers, as they are increasingly pressured by the commoditisation of connectivity due to decreasing prices, the STC CEO said. Therefore, they will have to utilise smart pipes to understand customer needs and develop additional revenue streams beyond mere access.
“The challenge is not just to provide access, but to provide Quality of Service and reliability,” he said. “Over-the-top video is emerging as a major contender to IPTV, given its content variety, convenience, personalisation and low cost advantages. We have now reached nearly 20,000 subscribers for our own IPTV service, but we have discovered that the way to monetise the content ecosystem is to improve the handover between the TV, PC and mobile phone. We are working on ways to integrate those three screens into one ecosystem.”
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