Telecom operator Zain Saudi Arabia ended 2019 with a total of 2,600 5G towers across the country, the telco said in a release.

Zain Saudi Arabia Vice-Chairman Bader Al Kharafi said that these 5G towers enabled the operator to offer commercial 5G services in 26 cities across Saudi Arabia.

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.

Zain also highlighted that the deployment of this technology across Saudi Arabia is expected to contribute towards realizing the digital transformation goals specified in the Saudi Vision 2030.

Zain Saudi Arabia generated revenues of SAR 8.4 billion ($ 2.24 billion) for full 2019 a 11% year-on-year increase compared to SAR 7.5 billion for the full year of 2018, while net income grew 46% year-on-year to SAR 485 million.

Al Kharafi confirmed 2020 will see further expansion of Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) and the 5G network to new cities across the Kingdom.

Zain Saudi Arabia and Zain Kuwait had also launched what it claimed to be the first 5G roaming service across the Middle East, with download speeds reaching as high as 500 Mbps for both outbound and inbound roaming.

Zain has also reached agreements with global technology companies to improve and develop the 5G ecosystem and is introducing various innovative digital services in the fields of IoT, healthcare, fintech and automation.

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 (mMIMO) to deliver enhanced network capacity, coverage, and improved downlink and uplink speeds. Under the terms of the deal, Nokia said it will use the  E-Band microwave in certain areas to allow for ultra-high-capacity backhaul networks.

Nokia said that the agreement with Zain included Nokia AirScale radio platform; Nokia Wavence’s E-band microwave radio with multi-frequency carrier aggregation, to support multi-gigabit capacities and low-latency microwave transport; Nokia NetGuard Security Management solution to ensure a highly secure 5G network as well as Nokia’s turnkey services including covering network planning, integration, implementation, project management, logistics and technical support.

Rival carrier Saudi Telecom Company (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.


The post Zain ends 2019 with 2,600 5G towers across Saudi Arabia appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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