The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Ericsson announced that they are launching a mid-band 5G network in Saudi Arabia during the Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona.
The STC is deploying a 5G network using Ericsson commercial hardware and solutions, including radio access network (RAN), packet core, transport, and Ericsson Network Manager. This network modernisation with latest technologies of wireless and fixed broadband, boosted speed, and 5G deployment will operate on a 3.5 GHZ band. The 5G network will be deployed with a third-party, 3GPP-compliant user equipment.
Nasser Al Nasser, STC CEO, said: “We are 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. Throughout this process, our customers and their service requirements are our top priority. Our aim is to build a network that caters for current and future services. 5G is considered as a very important step toward digitalisation and connecting everything, which supports Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 toward economic diversification.”
Rafiah Ibrahim, head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “5G holds an immense potential for driving industry digitisation and pioneering innovation. Our collaboration with STC has enabled us to create a fast-mid-band 5G field network based on real business needs, which supports STC in meeting their future customer requirements.”
5G at medium and high bands is well suited for deployment at existing site grids, especially when combined with low-band LTE.
In addition to facilitating the delivery of next-generation mobile broadband, cloud, and providing support for massive Internet of Things (IoT) deployment, Ericsson’s 5G collaboration with STC will also enable new industry use cases thanks to increased throughput and reduced latency.
Emad Al-Aoudah, vice president of procurement and support services of STC, said: “STC has signed multiple “Rawafed” Local Content agreements under its flagship 5G Aspiration Project with Strategic Partners. These agreements will open new opportunities for the local supply market and build long term capability in the national ICT sector.
The 5G project with all partners will contribute more than SAR 2bn to local industry, boost Saudisation in vital next-gen technology and management positions by 50%, increase SME support by 20%, and double the direct innovation investment made by STC Strategic Partners for 5G industry development within the kingdom.