TeleGeography: Middle East Sees Growth In Broadband Numbers

| Jun 21, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

The Middle East has witnessed a growth in wireless and broadband subscribers despite the global market showing a decline in 2009, a new research has found.

According to TeleGeography, a telecommunications research, analysis and consulting company, wireless subscribers in the Middle East at the end of Q1 2009 were at 232 million, which is a three per cent growth from Q4 2008 and a 22 per cent growth from Q1 of that year.

Globally, wireless subscriber additions in Q1 2009 declined slightly, as 153 million net new subscribers were added, 10 million fewer than in Q4 2008.

About 49 per cent of Q1 wireless subscriber growth came from India and China; growth slowed in many other markets, with Western and Eastern Europe being particularly slow. Countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Ukraine and the United Kingdom were all essentially flat or even in slight decline

John Dinsdale from TeleGeography Research, said: “Broadband subscribers at the end of Q1 2009 in the Middle East were at 12 million – a four per cent growth from Q4 2008 and a 25 per cent growth from Q1 2008. Globally, broadband subscriptions during the quarter were at 14 million, in line with Q4 2008 additions. China accounted for 30 per cent of global growth, while the United States was the only other country to add more than one million subscribers in the quarter.”

However, the Middle East did have to catch up in the telecom service provider segment, Dinsdale said. “Of the world’s top 20 telecom service providers, none are headquartered in the Middle East, and Saudi Telecom (STC) was the only one closest to joining the list.”

[Source: Zawya]

Ayna Adds Satellite Imagery To Mobile Version Of Ayna Maps

| Jun 19, 2009 | comment 13 Comments

Ayna Giza Satellite Image

As promised when they first launched the mobile version of their mapping service, has gone on and launched a satellite imagery feature for this mobile version, allowing users to see a high-resolution aerial snapshot of the location they are looking for.

Users of the service can now enter any address in the Middle East on Ayna maps, and click on the “Satellite” link to locate and zoom into the wanted area till having the closest image.

The satellite imagery service on the mobile is empowered by DigitalGlobe technology and updated for 2008, allowing users to view the entire world and zoom into 26 Middle East and North African cities, with streets, malls, points of interest, geographic information, buildings and more, directly from their mobile phones.

The satellite map has the same features existing on the normal map: finding points of interest, getting directions, saving favorites, sharing with friends …etc.

The satellite imagery feature should also be available on the web version of Ayna maps soon.

Ayna Mobile Maps

MasterCard Survey: Online Shopping In UAE Peaks In Fourth Quarter Of 2008

| Jun 17, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

United Arab EmiratesPer capita online shopping in the UAE reached $1,193 (Dh4,378) in the fourth quarter of 2008, making it the highest in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, according to the latest MasterCard survey.

Online shoppers made an average of 3.6 purchases in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with 3.1 during the same quarter in 2007.

Shoppers in the UAE conducted 26% of their overall shopping online, and 59% of them splashed out on airline tickets – the number one purchase according to the report.

Around 37% of people surveyed bought home appliances and electronic products and 30% paid for hotel accommodation online.

Surprisingly, not only have UAE consumers shopped more frequently despite the economic situation, they’ve also showed an increased intention for future online shopping compared to a year ago, with 60% of respondents expressing that were “likely” or “very likely” to shop online.

[Source: Gulf News]

Int@j Introduces 20 Jordanian ICT Companies to Intel Capital

| Jun 16, 2009 | comment 3 Comments


Int@j, the Information Technology Association of Jordan, recently conducted an event with Intel Capital, the venture capital investment arm of Intel Corporation, including more than 20 companies from the ICT community in Jordan.

The event focused on introducing the Jordanian ICT sector to Intel Capital and sharing various business aspects and relations among the various ICT sector companies and Intel.

Since its establishment as an ICT industry-support association in 2000, Int@j has been exerting a lot of efforts aiming at advancing the Jordanian ICT sector. Int@j has been looking for various partnerships with different institutions on the local, regional and international levels aiming at creating better ICT industry in Jordan, increasing the awareness of ICT services and products and stressing on the benefits of integrating ICT in other sectors.

The meeting included one-to-one presentations by member companies of int@j where they presented their plans, products, services and solutions to Intel Capital focusing on local capabilities, companies’ talented resources and value added services blended together towards positioning Jordan as the regional ICT leader and point of access.

Intel Capital has been quite active in the region lately, as part of its ongoing push to support local entrepreneurship in the Middle East and fund companies in the internet and technology sectors through its $50 million Intel Capital Middle East and Turkey Fund, which is aimed at assisting the companies in pursuing regional growth and development plans in addition to extending their product offerings.

Feroz Sanaulla, Intel Capital’s Director of Middle East, Turkey, and Africa said “’Intel Capital has a history of pioneering successful technology investments in developing markets to foster growth and innovation. We believe Jordanian ICT companies are well positioned in the region and we are keen on helping them drive technology adoption locally and identify new business opportunities globally.”

Silatech And Cisco To Build Invitational Technology Platform

| Jun 14, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

SilatechSilatech recently announced that it will be working with Cisco, which is one of its founding members and its global strategic technology provider, on the development of an ‘Invitational Technology Platform’, which will deliver Silatech services and solutions to the youth across the Middle East and North Africa.

Silatech is an initiative, that was launched by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned of Qatar, engaging the private, public and civil society sectors to promote large-scale job creation, entrepreneurship, and access to capital for young people.

Both Silatech and Cisco will contribute to the development of the Invitational Technology Platform, and Silatech will also be inviting a selection of local, regional and international technology organizations to participate according to their expertise. Local and regional universities and young developers from the Middle East and North Africa will also be involved in this regional effort.

Silatech’s Invitational Technology Platform will offer young people, entrepreneurs and enterprises throughout the MENA region access to:

  • Business development services and skills training for entrepreneurs leading existing small and medium size enterprises (SMEs);
  • Financial services to entrepreneurs and SMEs;
  • Skills development services to young people in various industries;
  • Access to markets and supply chains for SMEs;
  • Job placement and services across the MENA region.
Cisco’s newly opened office at the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) will be used as a base for the development effort. 

Other efforts by Silatech and Cisco to create jobs and enhance youth skills in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector through industry programs include the Cisco Networking Academy.

Winners Of The MIT Arab Business Plan Competition 08-09

| Jun 12, 2009 | comment 13 Comments

MIT Arab Business Plan CompetitionThe MIT Arab Business Plan Competition is a competition designed to encourage all entrepreneurs in the Arab world to start their own company and, ultimately, create a nest of leading firms in the Arab world.

The current version of the competition officially started on November 10th 2008, by opening up registrations. A few hours ago, the final round took place in Dubai, where the 10 finalists did oral presentations of their business plans to the jury panel, and the awards were handed out.

The winners of this edition of the MIT Arab Business Plan Competition are as follows:

First place: A tie between Syphir (Husain Al-Mohssen, Courtland Allen, Ghassan Fayad, Faisal Alibrahim [Saudi Arabia]) and HAYATI Healthcare LLC (Michael Matly, Tariq El-Titi, David Matly [United Arab Emirates])

Second place: Rice Straw Fertilizer Company (Ibrahim Khater Youssef, Ahmed El Dorghamy, Mohamed Abdel Raouf [Egypt])

Third place: Blog Souq (Ahmad Takatkah, Adey Salamin, Ammar Ibrahim [Jordan])

According to the terms of the competition, the winner of the competition should receive prize money of USD 50,000; which in the case of a tie will most probably be split in two. The members of the winning teams will also be given the opportunity to attend the MIT Global Startup Workshop (GSW).

The first and second runner-ups will receive a check of USD 10,000 and USD 5000 respectively.

Besides the financial reward, the winning teams will be provided with coaching/mentoring from the members and network of the MIT Enterprise Forum who will also help the winners get their businesses up and explore further funding opportunities by introducing them to business development centers, financing institutions, and similar organizations.

DemoCamp Cairo – June 14th 2009 – The Agenda

| Jun 11, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

DemoCamp MEAs previously announced, the first DemoCamp Cairo will be taking place at the Cairo International Convention & Exhibition Center (Mycerinos Auditorium) on June 14th 2009 at 6PM.

The following six demos will be taking place at the event:

  • Exorcist: A puzzle game for the iPhone and iPod Touch by Vimov.
  • TVOSZ: An Egyptian video sharing service that was previously reviewed here.
  • Smatx: An online resource for IT people to find and share news and information.
  • Baralbait: A location based social networking service that enables people to check-in and pinpoint their locations to get to see nearby friends and places to go.
  • RFIDINREGION: A new site that is dedicated to RFID related technologies and news.
  • Carlog: A portal to buy and sell cars online.

The format will be the same as the previous events, with the presenters giving 10 minute presentations of their work, with 5 minutes for Q&A.

The presenters will also be available to answer any further questions, receive feedback and share some thoughts after the event.

Attendance is free, and everyone is welcome to join in. Attendees will also be getting free gift coupons from Logta.

Startups and web applications presented at DemoCamp Cairo, and that haven’t already been covered, will be reviewed here on StartUpArabia over the upcoming days.

ATH Moves To Invest In Mobile Technology In The Arab World

| Jun 10, 2009 | comment Leave a comment

Accelerator Technology HoldingsAccelerator Technology Holdings (ATH) has announced that it is working on establishing a company to fund investment in mobile technology in the Arab region.

ATH is a holding company that acts through a group of companies established in Jordan and Bahrain to identify, invest in and help build best of breed ventures in the ICT value chain in the Arab world, and that has already funded a number of Arab startups through its IV Holdings venture capital arm.

They’re currently working on raising an initial US$10 million in funds, after which they will move on to hiring a management team to launch and run this new company.

They are particularly looking at areas like security and authentication, based on their expectations that financial transactions over mobile platforms will become very widespread in the region in the future, especially with several of the region’s big mobile network operators launching mobile payment initiatives recently.

This new company will operate as a cross between venture capitalist and commercial investor, building ties and working with foreign companies to bring new mobile technologies to the region. They’ve already started talking to businesses in the UK, Switzerland and Norway about bringing their mobile products to the Arab world.

# Source: The National

Twitvid And TwitterFon To Bring Video Tweeting To iPhone 3GS

| Jun 9, 2009 | comment Leave a comment, the instant video tweeting service previously reviewed here, and TwitterFon, the most popular Twitter application for the iPhone, announced a partnership where the TwitVid video service will be integrated into the TwitterFon iPhone application, enabling its large base of iPhone users to easily Tweet mobile videos to their Twitter followers who can begin watching the videos instantly, even before the upload from the source iPhone is completed.

The partnership comes on the heels of Apple’s announcement at WWDC ’09 yesterday that the new iPhone 3GS will incorporate the possibility to capture and edit videos directly on the phone.

Kazuho Okui, CTO of naan studio, Inc., creator of TwitterFon, said that they chose to work with Twitvid and not other video uploading applications because it offers the best user experience and high-quality video, along with its unique ability to offer instant playback of Tweeted videos as soon as the video begins uploading, a patent-pending technology created by Eatlime, the company behind Twitvid.

Twitvid has been working on a number of new features ever since their release, among these are the following:
- The possibility to record videos directly from a user’s webcam.
- The conversion of uploaded videos to High Quality video.
- The ability to chat with people when watching a video.
- The Creation of playlists by uploading several videos at the same time.
- The possibility to send videos directly to YouTube after they’re uploaded on Twitvid.

The TwitVid enabled TwitterFon iPhone application will be available at

JoCr8, An Online Community For Visual Communicators And Artists In Jordan

| Jun 8, 2009 | comment 3 Comments

JoCr8JoCr8 is a portal created to connect visual communicators and artists in Jordan, and to be a one-stop resource for them for everything related to design and visual arts.

The site is open to everyone who practices any of the visual arts disciplines; from the traditional painter to the designer to the 3D artist.

Users can register to the site to start uploading their work to build their portfolio, that other users will be able to go through and that they can use as a showcase when applying for jobs.
Signed up users can also go through other users’ uploaded material; leave their ratings and comments on their work; and get in touch with them really easily through the interface.

The portal also plays the role of an e-zine with interviews and articles on visual media whether in Jordan, the region, or around the world. It also publishes art and visual media related news and events mainly happening in Jordan.

On the other hand, JoCr8 makes it possible for users to post and share tutorials on different subjects and topics related to design and art, making the site a source of interesting documentation and learning material too.


Another part of the portal is a job postings section that provides information on visual media job opportunities in Jordan and around the region. Job applications aren’t handled through the site though, it’s just a listings section, and users apply seperately to the jobs.

Jocr8, which was founded by Tambi Jalouqa and is a product of Binary Interactive Studios, won the silver award in the online communities category at the Jordan Web Awards 2008 show.

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