Saudi Telecom Company (STC) signed three major deals to deploy 5G network in Saudi Arabia and develop services with Nokia, Huawei, and Ericsson at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Nokia's equipment, software and services will be used to set up a 5G network first in the western and southern part of Saudi Arabia as part of STC’s strategy in conjunction with Vision 2030 and National Transformation Plan (NTP) 2020. The rollout phase is already ongoing and is expected to be completed by end of 2020.
STC subscribers will have access to ultra-high bandwidth and low latency services, as well as new applications in areas such as virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
STC will modernize its existing LTE network through latest technologies such as PS (Packet Switch) core, Massive MIMO, 15-band antenna and multi-band technology.
STC CEO Nasser al-Nasser said: "We are excited to work with Nokia on the Aspiration project which will help us realize our dream to be the first one to launch 5G services in the region.”
He explained that once completed, the subscribers will be able to enjoy innovative high bandwidth consuming use cases, adding that the project underscores STC’s support and commitment to NTP 2020 and Vision 2030 to drive Saudi Arabia's digital transformation into a knowledge economy.
“The leadership of our longstanding partner, Nokia, in the development of 5G is crucial for our launch of 5G services.”
“The agreements will contribute to enhancing the company's products and services, and expanding its market share in the ICT market,” said Senior VP of Technology and Operations Unit Haitham al-Faraj.
Procurement and Support Services Sector VP Emad al-Aoudah also indicated that STC has signed multiple Rawafed Local Content agreements under its 5G Aspiration Project with strategic partners.
Earlier, STC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with KT (Korea Telecom) at the Mobile World Congress 2019 to collaborate on new technology areas.
As a leading telecommunication company in Korea, KT will cooperate with STC in various business areas and the two will generate and maximize the synergy effect by combining KT’s state-of-the-art ICT technologies such as 5G network, GiGA Wire, GiGAeyes, VR and STC’s Group business expertise and strong influence in MENA region.
Nasser said the collaboration is a great opportunity for STC and introduce KT’s field proven solutions to Saudi Arabia.
“I am hoping our successful cooperation models could expand to STC’s foreign subsidiaries and other MENA countries.”
Meanwhile, STC launched the first internal network for 5G at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), at the presence of the dean Dr. Sahl Abd al-Jawad.
The network, launched experimentally in the university at its headquarters in Dhahran, is the first of its kind in the Kingdom and the region. Infrastructure VP Khaled al-Darab said that 5G will help the university build a strategic partnership with the company to develop new services and innovations.
“The company has achieved high speeds of up to 1.3gb/s during site test trials, and the site will be operational in the second quarter of this year.”