During Mobile World Congress 2019, the Swedish vendor signed 5G deals with Ooredoo Qatar and Saudi Telecom Company

BARCELONA-Swedish vendor Ericsson said Middle East carriers Ooredoo and Saudi Telecom Company will use its 5G solutions for network projects in Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Under the deal with Ooredoo Qatar, the vendor will deploy its Radio System, 5G New Radio solutions and 10 Gbps microwave solutions to upgrade Ooredoo’s existing mobile networks and introduce 5G.

Ooredoo is currently preparing about 1,200 network base stations to be 5G-ready, according to Ericsson.

“Our partnership with Ericsson will provide the 5G foundation for our Ooredoo Supernet to enable Qatar’s smart cities, digitally competitive internet of things industries, and immersive mega-events and virtual reality experiences. As 5G becomes mainstream across Qatar, we are dedicated to transforming industries and enhancing people’s digital lives,” said Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, CEO of Ooredoo.

Rafiah Ibrahim, head of market area Middle East and Africa for Ericsson, said that the company is partnering with Ooredoo “to bring our latest 5G innovation to life in their nationwide network. 5G promises to accelerate the digitization of industries, presenting Ooredoo with new opportunities and enabling them to launch the most advanced technologies while improving the end-user experience with faster speeds and lower latency.”

Meanwhile, STC and Ericsson signed a deal to launch a mid-band 5G network in Saudi Arabia, with the signing ceremony held at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona.

STC is deploying a 5G network using 3.5 GHz spectrum and Ericsson commercial hardware and solutions, including radio access network (RAN), packet core, transport, and Ericsson’s network manager. The network will provide both mobile and fixed broadband.

Nasser Al Nasser, STC CEO, said that the company is “excited to launch one of the fastest mid-band 5G field networks in the world. We have been working in close partnership with Ericsson on 5G for tests in the lab, field trials, and now initial deployment. … Our aim is to build a network that caters for current and future services. 5G is considered as a very important step toward digitalization and connecting everything, which supports Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 toward economic diversification.”

In a press conference during the first day of Mobile World Congress, Ericsson’s CEO  Börje Ekholm said that the vendor has 10 contracts for 5G across North America, Europe, and Asia. The company also has 42 memorandums-of-understanding on 5G deployments with mobile operators and industrial partners.

“We are truly switching on 5G in 2019,” said Ekholm.

In related news, Middle East telco Etisalat signed a strategic partnership with Chinese vendor Huawei to deploy an end-to-end 5G network in the United Arab Emirates in 2019. As part of the agreement, Huawei will deploy its network solutions including 5G wireless, a 5G “service oriented core” and 5G-ready transport network. Etisalat plans to build around 300 5G sites in the first half of this year, according to published reports. 

“5G service availability will provide high data rates with ultra-low latency, providing unlimited access to all kinds of innovative applications and services and will drive efficiency and productivity to a wide range of business across industrial sectors of the UAE. With its implementation, there will be immense potential for future technologies like AI, robotics, advanced 4K gaming, AR and VR enhancing the overall digital experience for all consumers,” said Saeed Al Zarouni, SVP of mobile networks for Etisalat.


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