Photo: Hajj pilgrims walking in Arafat, Makkah, Saudi Arabia, in August 2019. Leo Morgan /

Islamic Lifestyle

Haj 2019 consumed data equivalent to watching over 13.3 mln hours of HD 1080p video – UN agency

More than 32.5 thousand terabytes of data was consumed during haj 2019, equivalent to watching over 13.3 million hours of HD 1080p video, according to the United Nations’ specialised agency for information and communications technology (ICT).

Almost 2.5 million pilgrims performed the haj this year, up 4.6 per cent from 2018. Data consumption was up 26 per cent from 2018, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said in a statement on Friday, citing data from the Communications and Information Technology Commission of Saudi Arabia.

The daily individual consumption of data during this year’s haj was 352.5 megabytes, exceeding the global average by 95 per cent.

The average download speed was 44.83 Mbps, an increase of 69 per cent from 2018.

More than 309 million calls, both national and international, were made by pilgrims, with a 99 per cent success rate, said ITU.

To facilitate the significant increase in data consumption, the Saudi government increased the total spectrum allocated for mobile services by 140 per cent and implemented more than 5,400 wi-fi access points.

“Over 7,000 ICT professionals participated in delivering ICT services to the more than 7.4 million subscribers of local and roaming users, and the network was delivered over 13,300 mobile service towers, including 37 towers for 5G technology,” said the UN agency.

One of the 5G applications adopted for the haj was the use of artificial intelligence to manage crowds by analysing photos and videos, parcel transport service, and to facilitate communication between government sectors.

Saudi authorities launched the second version of ‘Smart Hajj’ for this year’s pilgrimage season. The initiative provides digital services for pilgrims through different platforms and applications.


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