Bravo Launches TETRA Network in Saudi Arabia, Conducts LTE Trials
Friday, August 18, 2017 | Comments

After announcing plans last year to launch both TETRA and Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, Saudi Arabian operator Bravo said it has launched initial TETRA services.

Bravo, the mission-critical operator arm of Saudi Telecom Co. (STC), is establishing a TETRA network in the western region of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia to cover the holy sites, Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and Yanbu. The TETRA network is expected to cover the region during the five-day Hajj season, expected to begin Aug. 29.

Dr. Fahad Bin Mushayt, Bravo’s CEO, said that the first stage of construction of the network is underway. In this phase, 84 sites equipped with TETRA infrastructure will be built prior to the Hajj season. So far, 50 sites are complete.

Bin Mushayt said that Bravo began the TETRA network buildout in the western region because of Makkah’s and Madinah’s strategic importance. The Makkah region’s total population is 8.34 million, while Medinah’s is 2.1 million. Each year Saudi Arabia hosts more than 15 million visitors during the Umrah and Hajj seasons. Bin Mushayt last year offered details on its network upgrade plans in an interview.

The Government of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has paid great attention to the region. The Saudi Vision 2030 stresses the need to allow as many Muslims as possible to perform Hajj and Umrah and enable them to visit the holy sites in the best possible way, and to enrich and deepen their experience through the correct preparation of the two holy mosques, as well as creating tourist and cultural sites, and providing the best services before, during and after their visits to Makkah, Madinah and the holy sites.

Critical communications play a key role in ensuring the safety of pilgrims and the smooth running of crowd management processes, while bringing together all concerned authorities with public safety, health, transport and other vital sectors under one umbrella.

The Bravo TETRA network targets many customers in the public and government sectors in many fields including transportation, health, Hajj, basic utilities and the energy sector, as well as various security agencies. Yanbu Industrial City is of great importance to Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry, and it is completely covered by the Bravo TETRA network.

Yanbu Industrial City is strategically located on the Red Sea coast, and because of its proximity to the Suez Canal, North Africa and Europe, it represents the western endpoint of crude oil and natural gas pipelines extending from the eastern part of Saudi Arabia to a distance of about 1,200 kilometers. A portion of the crude oil is exported to international markets. The other part is used, along with natural liquid gas, for petrochemical industries in Yanbu Industrial City.

Considering the strategic importance of the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, which includes major oil and gas companies, and these companies’ need for encrypted communications systems to run and manage their work groups with flexibility and security, Bravo plans to establish a TETRA network in the eastern region in the next phase, as per its customers’ requests.

In November, Airbus Defence and Space and Motorola Solutions announced contracts with Bravo for the TETRA upgrade.

Bravo is also extending its strategy to build a national unified communications network using LTE technology. The carrier recently conducted field trials for LTE applications and solutions.

Bravo anticipates that the network will provide a huge amount of operational data that can be used to control operators’ decision-making and event management. In addition, the LTE-based network will provide flexible communications to security intervention teams and public-safety teams, simultaneously and in real time. The LTE network could also be used to control drones to cover isolated areas and transfer data from emergency sites at high data speeds.

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