On the sidelines of Capacity Middle East 2023, Telecom Review had an exclusive interview with Abdullah Alrufaidi, wholesales director, Salam to discuss Salam’s wholesale business, how they support both service providers and customers, and their plans for the year ahead.
Can you share with us the latest updates and developments on Salam's wholesale business?
With one of the region’s most extensive and robust telecom networks, Salam offers massive capacity and the highest availability, as is well known in the market. We continue to build on this underlying strength to expand our presence and enable our customers to scale their business and reach. Our regional connectivity and capacity continue to grow with an additional gateway to Kuwait and more interconnections with the main data centers in Saudi Arabia. Salam is also in discussions with several submarine cable initiatives that will potentially use Saudi Arabia as a landing hub in the region. Finally, our wholesale voice business is growing briskly as the growth of voice traffic in the region continues to drive demand.
How is Salam playing a part in connecting the Kingdom and ensuring access to high-speed connectivity?
Salam is a vital contributor and enabler of the Kingdom’s digital transformation journey and Vision 2030 goals. Salam’s high-speed, high-capacity network covers the whole Kingdom through an independent 19,000-kilometer Saudi National Fiber Network (SNFN) connecting all major cities with 9 metro fiber rings and diversified last-mile access media, as well as international gateways via Jordan, the U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq, with landing stations in Al Khobar and Jeddah connecting the Kingdom to the rest of the world through submarine cables. And we’re making it even easier to scale up your bandwidth with 100 Gbps cards for smooth upgrades in multiples of 10 Gbps circuits at a time, while ensuring 99.99% network availability with self-healing, protected routes on all long-haul links for resiliency and restoration services.
In a world hungry for richer digital experiences and content, how does Salam support the rising expectations of both service providers and customers?
To meet the explosive demand for data and the rising expectations of this digital generation, Salam constantly invests in capacity expansion and new enablers of emerging digital lifestyle choices and technology platforms. Salam’s international gateway, already one of the most robust in the region, is constantly growing with the purchase of more international bandwidth on subsea systems such as the FALCON system as well as through more terrestrial routes. Salam has also invested in diversified links to Europe and purchased IP Transit from multiple Tier-1 providers. In parallel, as part of our commitment to power the growth of richer digital content and seamless experiences, Salam is peering with leading content and OTT players across Europe and the region, including Google, Amazon and Meta, and [we] actively support the SAIX initiative by hosting CDNs locally to improve latency for main content and gaming sites.
How does increased data boost the wholesale sector in general? More specifically, how does Salam leverage this?
With the rise of Big Data, multi-cloud ecosystems, AI systems, edge computing environments and other data-driven business platforms and environments, it’s no surprise that capacity demand is exploding. And Salam’s high-speed, high-capacity infrastructure is well positioned to meet this demand. Our independent infrastructure is one of the most extensive and robust in the region, giving us the ideal combination of capacity and global reach to transform the ability of businesses and carriers to adapt, scale and innovate. We also secure the most competitive prices when purchasing international capacity on various international cable systems, ultimately benefiting our customers. Combined, this is how Salam is able to deliver reliable, high-capacity solutions and cost-effective IP transit services.
What can we expect from Salam Wholesale in 2023?
Already, our expanding range of next-generation solutions, continuous capacity expansion and non-stop investment in infrastructure is enabling customers to meet rising backbone connectivity and international capacity needs as they tap into new opportunities in 2023. Expect more voice and international roaming traffic capacity; more competitive data sales to and from Saudi Arabia; more flexibility to adapt and scale data ecosystems; more international reach and connectivity; and seamless peering with content, OTT and gaming networks around the world — all essential ingredients for today’s new technology platforms, new digital lifestyles, smart cities, other Vision 2030 initiatives and the Kingdom’s digital transformation journey towards 2030 and beyond.