Nokia Siemens Networks manages STC mobile broadband deluge during Hajj

Efficient radio access network and Special Event Support Services ensure up to 42 Mbps data, high-quality voice services

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) once again teamed up with Nokia Siemens Networks to ensure millions of Hajj pilgrims enjoyed the best possible mobile service. Nokia Siemens Networks successfully ensured STC’s network performance remained high with 99.9% network availability, despite the huge increase in the traffic. As the sole GSM and 3G radio supplier, Nokia Siemens Networks provided STC with its Single Radio Access Network (RAN) and Special Event Support Services (SESS)*.

The Hajj is a week-long pilgrimage when millions of visitors move through Al Masha’er, from Mina to Muzdalifah and on to Arafat, an area of 15 square kilometers. This unique event, with an extremely high-number of mobile users, involving the movement of millions of people creates high-density traffic, requiring SESS to maintain optimal network performance under exceptional conditions.

“We take great pride in maintaining a strong mobile connectivity for the millions of pilgrims, facilitating their rituals, and providing them with an exceptional Hajj experience,” said Bandar M. Alqafari, vice president Networks Sector at STC. “Consistent with the remarkable increase in smartphone penetration, Hajj 2012 witnessed the biggest mobile broadband demand ever. We employed all our expertise and resources to ensure smooth calls and Internet traffic, as evident by the processing of more than 2750 terabytes in the Internet traffic, and the boosting of our network capacity by more than 60% and increasing its capability to serve more than 26 million users, equivalent to the network capacity of several countries.”

“Adequate preparations for every Hajj season are the key to achieving our goals, as we continue to develop our IT and network infrastructure to sustain the high quality of our services and ensure fulfillment of the demands of over three million users. Our fruitful partnership with Nokia Siemens Networks helped us achieve these goals,” added Bandar M. Alqafari.

“Nokia Siemens Networks understands the importance of Hajj for millions of Muslims and how essential it is to make sure STC’s network performance remains optimal during the pilgrimage,” said Hani Dib, STC customer team head at Nokia Siemens Networks. “Between October 24 and 27, 2012, voice traffic increased by over 40% and data traffic by over 100% compared to previous year’s Hajj. Even though we had less spectrum during Hajj 2012 compared to previous years, the network performance exceeded the previous years’ performance.”

Nokia Siemens Networks deployed its Single RAN platform, based on its high-capacity Flexi Multiradio Base Station, to STC’s GSM and HSPA+ networks. During the exceptional traffic and load conditions, the company’s SESS ensured that the increased demand for network capacity was met and that no degradation in network performance occurred. SESS involves comprehensive managed services, including network design planning and optimization services as well as full care and field support for the network. Supply, installation, integration and commissioning of equipment were also part of this special service. In addition, Nokia Siemens Networks provided its NetAct network management system, enabling consolidated monitoring, management and operation of STC’s GSM and 3G networks.

Nokia Siemens Networks is the sole GSM and 3G radio supplier for STC’s network in Mecca, Medina, and other pilgrim areas, and supported the operator to maintain optimum network performance for the 12th consecutive year in 2012.

For more information, including a video overview, on Nokia Siemens Networks’ mobile broadband capabilities, follow this link. To share your thoughts on the topic, join the discussion with @NokiaSiemensNet on Twitter using #mobilebroadband.

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Nokia Siemens Networks manages STC mobile broadband deluge during Hajj