Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Zain inks smart meter deal in Kuwait

Steve Rogerson
June 8, 2017

Middle East telecoms company Zain is to develop interconnectivity support of the smart meters project in Kuwait.
It has signed a development, management and operation agreement with the Ministry of Electricity & Water (MEW) in Kuwait. The signing ceremony (pictured) took place at MEW’s headquarters in the presence of Essam Abdulmohsen Al Marzouq, the minister of oil, electricity and water, and Zain Kuwait’s chief executive officer Eaman Al Roudhan.
Zain won the bid to partner to MEW in managing the smart metering components of the project for a period of seven years. It will manage the smart electricity and water meters in Kuwait.
The project’s initial capacity will include 880,000 smart meters, with the possibility of a future expansion to 1.2 million. The first batch of smart meters will be used in properties within the investment, industrial and agricultural sectors, followed by residential properties.
Zain will manage and operate the smart meters project in collaboration with a number of global partners, including E&Y and Ericsson. The project is set to revolutionise the process of obtaining electricity and water readings, which will be taken automatically and can be tracked in real time.
The project will costs KD22m, and will see Zain building and installing the meters over the next two years, and then managing and operating them for the subsequent five years.
“This agreement with MEW is an extension of previous partnerships and mutual cooperation that Zain has enjoyed with various ministries and public authorities in Kuwait to a more strategic level,” said Al Roudhan. “We are very pleased with this development, and given that the smart meters project is one of the largest in Kuwait’s ICT sector, we are proud to be a central part of its deployment and management.”
He said that the implementation of a project of this scale was a testament to the country’s efforts to catalyse the uptake of e-government services, and embodied the public sector’s interest in benefiting from the private sector’s experience in areas such as customer care.
“This project stands as a huge boost to Kuwait’s public-private partnership programme,” he said. “This project forms part of Zain’s strategic plans to expand smart cities in Kuwait as we look to transform into an inclusive digital telecommunications provider.”
One such plan was Zain’s strategic investment in Nexgen, a smart city advisory and consulting services provider.
“The execution of such a significant project is a crucial step in harnessing the power of our digital infrastructure in order to develop truly connected, intelligent environments,” he said. “Technology continues to play a vital role in all aspects of life, and as Zain is the leading provider of mobile technology innovations, we are totally committed to having these competencies reflected across society.”
Zain will supply and install 5000 smart meters that meet with international standards. The company will also manage the smart meters’ operating systems, including the development and management of a massive database developed for this project, and training MEW’s call centre staff to service consumers around the clock.
The telco will also introduce a secure e-payment system through MEW’s official web site and through a mobile app where consumers can monitor their smart meter’s readings in real time and receive bill reminder notifications and more.
Uutility payment systems will be introduced where residents will be able to pay electricity and water bills through prepaid or post-paid plans. Zain will also offer its own payment channels as an option, including the company’s web site, branches and kiosks.
The smart meters project aims to eliminate the requirement for a manual process to obtain meter readings, replaced instead by an electronic platform that automatically collects meter readings, while also being able to inform MEW’s support team of any failures within the system in real time.