Awasr launches high-speed Internet service in Oman
March 22, 2016 | 12:07 PM
by A. E. JAMES/[email protected]

Muscat: Oman’s first specialised high-speed fibre Internet provider, Awasr, officially launched its services in the regions of Al Khoud, Al Mawaleh, Al Hail, Maabilah and Shatti Al Qurum in the first phase, with expansion plans to cover the rest of Muscat and other areas throughout the Sultanate.

The announcement was made on Monday evening at an inaugural ceremony organised by the company at Al Bustan Palace Hotel in Muscat.

With the official launch of Awasr services, users can now enjoy high-speed fibre-optic Internet in both offices and homes, at competitive prices in the regions of Al Khoud, Al Mawaleh, Al Hail, Maabilah and Shatti Al Qurum in the first phase.

The company announced that it will soon offer a 1 Gigabit (GB) connection for homes and has previously launched three fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) packages with 20MB, 50MB and 150MB speeds accordingly.

Also available are three fibre-to-the-business (FTTB) packages with 5MB, 10MB and 30MB Internet speed for small, medium, and large scale enterprises.

“The broadband fibre optic packages offered by Awasr aim to support the government’s vision in reinforcing the Sultanate’s digital infrastructure and offering high-speed Internet services. Our new 1 Gigabit speed will drive the market to provide the high speeds needed to allow people and enterprises to become more innovative – hence contributing to the prosperity and sustainable development of the Sultanate,” said His Highness Sayyid Taimur bin As'ad Al Said, chairman of Awasr.

So far, the company has over 500 customers. “We expect to get a share of 30-35 per cent of fibre broadband market by 2019,”Grame Lowther, strategy advisor of Awasr, told journalists after the inaugural event.

Lowther said that Awasr will follow Oman Broadband Company in providing broadband connections to homes in different areas. OBC has built optical fibre network in cooperation with Haya Water.

“About 70,000 homes in Muscat have already been covered. By the end of the year, OBC will release 120,000 homes. That is a big market,” noted Lowther.

OBC is also laying optical fibre cable in other cities like Salalah. By the end of the year, 25-30 per cent of Muscat will be covered by fibre optic cable of OBC. “In two years, 90 per cent of Muscat will be covered.”

The services of Awasr are all post-paid. However, the company plans to introduce pre-paid service at a later stage.

The company, which has an Omanisation ratio of almost 100 per cent, is aiming at achieving break-even by 2020.

Lowther said that the pricing of Awasr is better - it is not expensive or the customer gets more speed for the same price. “The business packages in Oman are the most expensive in GCC region. Cost of communication will come down (eventually). Oman needs innovation like the UAE,” added Lowther.

Ghaith bin Mohammed Al Darmaki, chief technology officer at Awasr, said: “The launch marks a new era in the telecommunications sector, especially with providing high-speed fibre optic Internet services. This reflects our strategy of becoming the trusted partner that can meet the increasing demand, which is in line with the development the Sultanate is witnessing across all sectors.”

Mohamad Madhoun, commercial adviser at Awasr spoke about the company’s expansion plans, which include packages targeted for small and medium enterprises and services that cater to the different needs of customers, such as media and content. He also touched upon the importance of expanding fibre optic technology to reach as many customers as possible.

“The culture at Awasr is based on four core values - simple, caring, smart and agile. These values guide everything we do. We ensure our services are free from unnecessary complexity, to help our customers enjoy the best high-speed internet experience. Simplicity and caring, in fact, marks the way we support our customers, for whom we strive to provide the highest standard of customer service,” pointed out Lowther.

“We are proud to be the first to announce our plan to launch 1 Gigabit speeds in Oman soon, but it is not all about speed. Having access to high-speed broadband is critical to allowing businesses to be creative. Research studies have shown that communities with access to high speed Internet are more innovative and contribute far more to a country’s GDP,” said Lowther.

Awasr has signed several strategic partnership agreements with pioneering local, regional and international companies in the telecommunication sector, to ensure the delivery of cutting-edge services and world-class technology. It signed agreements with Oman Broadband Company (OBC); Salience Consulting, the regions experts in broadband, and Singapore-based ViewQwest, a leading provider of high-speed fibers-optic internet services in Singapore, Orixcom, who are specialists in Internet Capacity and cloud services.

Awasr plans to open a flagship store at Avenues Mall. More information about the Awasr packages can be found on the website, or through the outlet at City Centre Muscat.

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