stc Group, the leading digital enabler in the MENA region, and SkyFive Arabia, the leading provider of Air-to-Ground (A2G) based solutions and services, signed a Memorandum of Understanding. As a region-first, the partners will introduce broadband Inflight Connectivity services powered by the SkyFive A2G solution to airlines in Saudi Arabia, with a plan to further expand across the entire MENA region in the near future.
The new Inflight Connectivity offering will provide airline passengers with a high-speed connectivity experience that allows them to enjoy high quality video streaming, web browsing, and social media interactions while zooming through the sky.
As a first step, stc deployed an A2G network between Riyadh and Jeddah, which represents the busiest air route in the Kingdom and ranges amongst the top 10 air routes worldwide. Supported by the Communications, Space and Technology Commission (CST), the partners implemented the solution on a first commercial aircraft of a leading airline with stunning results. The partners plan to launch the service for airlines and their passengers on all air routes in the Kingdom and the wider MENA region.
Mohannad Makki — VP of Carrier and Wholesale at stc, “Saudi Arabia’s Internet usage rocketed up 92.5% in 2021, compared to 2020. The Kingdom is transforming, and we want to take part in paving the way for our customers and business partners. Our partnership with SkyFive Arabia is yet another investment on our ongoing journey of always being a step ahead in meeting the rapidly growing demand for high-speed and qualitative connectivity services, by introducing the latest and most innovative technologies that boost the user experience – now even in the sky. Moreover, the partnership will support the digital economy in line with the Vision 2030.”
Hazem Bahy — VP of Sales and Head of Business Saudi Arabia at SkyFive Arabia, “Air to Ground takes broadband connectivity to the sky, offering airline passengers an unmatched data experience. It is a unique service differentiator and digital enabler to enhance the passenger experience and make flight operations more efficient.”
This partnership coincides with the announcement of stc as the auction winner and 15-years license holder for both spectrum blocks of the 2100 MHz band, which was designated for Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) by CST. The auction was part of the implementation of the “Spectrum Outlook for Commercial and Innovative Use 2021-2023″. CST empowers spectrum to become a driver for the digital transformation of Saudi Arabia through innovative NTN technologies, which also includes novel satellite services for rural and remote areas.
Featured image credited to SkyFive