Qatar’s first independent satellite to be launched in 2013

May 25, 2011

Qatar’s first independent satellite ‘Ekshail’ will be launched in 2013 by the Supreme Council for Information Technology (ictQatar).

Hessa Al Jaber, ictQatar secretary-general, said that the satellite would boost ictQatar’s initiatives to deliver an ultra high-speed Internet links at affordable rates and a reliable network covering 95 percent of Qatar by 2015.

The agency’s ICT2015 strategy also calls for the expansion of investments in information technologies and services to 6 billion Qatari riyals over the coming five years, she said.

Smart cities

The ictQatar official reiterated Qatar’s plan to build digital networks, smart cities and venues and other technology-rich features as part of its programme for World Cup 2022.

“The communication and information sectors in the Mena region have experienced significant growth over the past few years,” she said.

“Qatar is leading the way in this progress. Here in Qatar, mobile penetration reached more than 150 per cent, the highest rate in the world, while Internet penetration reached 84 per cent in 2010. Our highly networked and information technology-dense nation will put all this to good use when we host the FIFA World Cup 2022,” she said, quoted by Qatar Tribune.

Al Jaber called for the enrichment of the Arabic digital content market to boost opportunities in the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region.

Arabic content

The Arabic-speaking population, about 5-6 per cent of the world’s total population, is the fastest growing segment of the Internet population around the world. However, less than 1 per cent of the relevant Internet content is written and produced in Arabic, she said.

“This is unacceptable. The Mena region represents a major market opportunity for those willing to meet it. Just in the context of advertising and digital social media, the Mena region is projected to grow at a rate of 20 percent over the coming five years. Closing the content gap will mean opening up a market for digital advertising. Right now, that market is woefully underdeveloped,” she said at the opening of the QITCOM 2011, Qatar’s ICT conference and exhibition in Doha.

The first day of the conference featured panel discussions and presentations focused on innovation and incubation, Arabic digital content and social networking in the Arab World.

Guy Kawasaki

Former chief evangelist of Apple and founder of Guy Kawasaki was among the keynote speakers.

The author of the bestselling book ‘Enchantment’ laid out the strategic steps to create new products and services by calling upon his experience with Apple, as well as his study of dozens of world-class companies.

The first major deals of QITCOM 2011 were signed on Tuesday. Communications giant Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding with Qatar’s Al Mannai Group and inaugurated a partnership with global contact centre provider Spanco.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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