Zain completes 5G network deployment in Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabian carrier Zain KSA has completed the rollout of 5G services in the country with new deployments in the cities of Qurayyat, Ras Tanura and Tabarjal, the telco said in a release.

With these latest deployments, Zain KSA’s 5G network now covers 38 cities across the Kingdom.

Zain KSA’s CEO Bin Abdulaziz AlDeghaither said: “The company is particularly keen on covering all the Kingdom’s regions without exception with its 5G network in a way that contributes to endorsing development at the economic, social and knowledge levels. Zain KSA’s 5G services will certainly unlock new prospects for these regions, enabling us to provide residents and citizens with tools for innovation and development, and to support the wise leadership’s efforts aiming towards achieving economic diversification and increasing the competitiveness of the national economy.”

Zain launched commercial 5G operations in Saudi Arabia in October 2019. In the initial deployment phase, the telco deployed 2,000 towers that covered an area of more than 20 cities across Saudi Arabia.

The carrier ended 2019 with a total of 2,600 5G towers across 26 cities in the country.

In June 2019, Nokia had announced a three-year 5G deal with Zain in Saudi Arabia for the deployment of the latter’s 5G infrastructure. The deal stipulated the use of 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz, along with massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (massive MIMO) to deliver enhanced network capacity, coverage, and improved downlink and uplink speeds. Under the terms of the deal, Nokia said it will use E-Band microwave in certain areas to allow for ultra-high-capacity backhaul networks.

Meanwhile, rival operator Saudi Telecom Company (STC) announced the deployment of 5G standalone (SA) and 5G voice over new radio (VoNR) service in its 5G network.

The carrier noted that this development will enable the provision of enhanced data and voice services over a cloud native end-to-end 5G network.

STC had officially launched 5G services in Saudi Arabia in June 2019. The company currently offers 5G services through 100MHz of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band.

In February 2019, STC and Nokia had signed an agreement to deploy a 5G network using Nokia’s end-to-end 5G solutions. Nokia’s equipment, software and services will be used to set up a 5G network in the western and southern parts of Saudi Arabia, including Makkah and Madinah. The rollout phase is  expected to be completed by the end of 2020. The network will feature 5G Massive MIMO technology and five component TD-FDD LTE carrier aggregation (CA).

STC is also using Ericsson commercial hardware and solutions including radio access network (RAN), packet core, transport, and Ericsson Network Manager.

Meanwhile, Mobiliy selected Nokia for the deployment of its 5G network in the country.

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