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OMAN - Telecoms & IT

Khuwailid Fatallah Al Hinai

Chairman & Executive Director , Dunes Middle East

Bio

Prior to the establishment of Dunes Middle East, Khuwailid Fatallah Al Hinai was the AGM of a major mining company in Oman and an HSE expert advisor for a dominant oil firm. He has been actively advising on the HSE and security sectors to various organizations in Oman since 1998. His keen interest in IT and digital technology led him to establish Dunes Middle East. In line with the Oman Vision 2040, his company assists many leading firms in the Sultanate in providing voice and data connection services through satellite connections, even in the remotest places.

"Dunes provides VSAT communication services mainly to the banking sector and oil and gas companies and any companies that work in remote locations."
With a Class III license from the Oman Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Dunes is one of the first companies in Oman to achieve this feat and is geared up to meet the burgeoning requirements of satellite connectivity.
How has Dunes evolved since its establishment, and what are the company’s main activities?

Dunes provides VSAT communication services mainly to the banking sector and oil and gas companies and any companies that work in remote locations. In 2009, we started with fiber connections to homes. We later took the first step to acquire a quality license from the government to provide satellite communication. We received the license in 2019, and we started providing our services to clients in 2020. Currently, in satellite communications, we provide companies with full communication services to their locations where they function, mainly in remote locations where there is no connectivity at all. We provide them with full communication and connectivity to send data up and down from the HQ to the remote location, enabling them to set up offices. Since we started, we have been the only company giving the latest satellite that uses the Ka-band. Those satellites were launched in 2019. Currently, we are the only company providing this service to oil and gas companies with the latest technology. This latest technology supports us in the easy transition, moving from the current satellites we are using to the Omani-owned-satellites, which will be launched in the coming years. Oman plans to launch its own satellite and will use the same Ka-band. It will be just configuration from our side, moving into that particular satellite.

What is your perception of the current state of the ICT sector in Oman, and what challenges do you face in pushing digitalization forward?

Oman is moving in the right direction with ICT. Since COVID-19, many things have changed; everyone is competing to provide the latest technologies. The biggest challenge is the competition. In our case, the pandemic has pushed us to become better. Looking at the market, everyone has covered everything, from ministries to ROP and car registration. Now, one can register or renew their car registration on their phones. Before, they had to wait five or six hours to renew them and get their cars back in time. Many ministries have moved online, such as the Ministry of Housing. People can acquire land through an app. All the companies in Oman and government entities are moving in the right direction. When I first started, I did not have an office. I was jumping from one company to another, working to introduce my company and educating people on what we could do for them. It was a challenge. Now, we have an office and employees. I have subcontractors to support the connections with my customers. There are challenges in Oman, though overall I am positive about the direction that country is moving.

What are the company’s main short-term goals and priorities for the year ahead?

We try to leave our mark everywhere in Oman and take on bigger challenges. We aim to grow the number of our employees and become one of Oman’s biggest telecoms companies. When people set up their businesses in remote locations that do not have connectivity, we are here to provide that connectivity wherever they are. Even if it was the most remote location, we could provide full communications and coverage to enable them to work like they are in the capital. We also want to continue to support Omanis in learning about satellite communications and the latest technologies. Even if they do not want to be our employees, we can provide them with training. They can work here for some time, gain some experience, and move on to another challenge.

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