The Saudi Telecom Company (STC) Group has announced the official launching of the fifth generation (5G) wireless network service in the Kingdom.
“STC has become the first operator to provide 5G commercial services to customers in a number of cities in the Kingdom,” said Nasser Bin Sulaiman Al-Nasser, CEO of STC Group.
According to sources, the 5G network will be 100 times faster than the previous generation, which was launched in 2009.
Al-Nasser said this launch confirms the Group’s pioneering role and growth as a major facilitator of digital transformation and as a confirmation of the rapid development of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in the Kingdom.
“The commercial launch of the service in Saudi Arabia coincides with the commercial launch of 5G service by VIVA Kuwait, a subsidiary of STC, as the first 5G operator in Kuwait. VIVA Bahrain, another subsidiary of STC, will launch commercial service of 5G in Bahrain in the near future,” he said.
Al-Nasser said that STC has developed the wireless network infrastructure in the Kingdom, increasing its penetration, by providing the latest global technologies, and accelerating the deployment of the G5 network, which provides a major technical transformation and a basic network for future applications.
In the first phase, the 5G network will now be available in the Kingdom in specific areas in a number of major cities using home routers that will be available at specific STC outlets in accordance with customer needs.
Al-Nasser said the launch is an affirmation of Saudi Telecom’s pioneering role in delivering innovative technologies and services to customers across the Kingdom.
“The fifth generation will contribute to improving the speed and performance of wireless networks, and will not only improve the communication efficiency between people and their phones or computers, but also enhances sophisticated uses such as Internet-related services, artificial intelligence, and robots,” he said.
Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province had become the first city in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to benefit from 5G service following the inauguration of its pilot project in May 2018 in the presence of Prince Saud Bin Naif, emir of the Eastern Province.
The STC launched the service after completion of its experiments for the first time in MENA region since launching the test drive in 2017 and this was in cooperation with the telecom giant’s strategic partners.
The launch of 5G service is in line with the Kingdom’s digital transformation plans and the objectives of the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Vision 2030.
STC launched the 5G project soon after the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), the telecom regulator, issued licenses for testing the 5G mobile network using 100 MHz channels in the bandwidth of 3.6Ghz–3.8GHz.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Sawaha said earlier that Saudi Arabia is determined to be a world leader in 5G to take early advantage of its benefits, with becoming one of the first countries to launch the 5G service.
The Saudi government has long recognized the importance of broadband communications, and the potential benefits of 5G technologies now fit well into the country’s plans to build a leading modern economy as outlined in its Vision 2030.
By the end of February 2018, the telecom operator inked a deal with Huawei to collaborate in the field of 5G wireless networks and technology. In the beginning of March 2018, STC signed a memorandum of understanding with Cisco Systems to develop the 5G networks across the Kingdom.
STC has subsequently completed the first global Multi-Vendor-Integration-Verification (MVIV) for its Huawei and Cisco core infrastructure with Ericsson and Nokia supplied 5G Radio Networks.
This is the first of its kind achievement that would pave the way for STC to lead a diverse 5G deployment through joint innovation. STC continues to boost its 5G network capabilities and strives to provide best “Ultra High Speed & Low Latency” experience for its customers through the 5G network, the STC sources have stated.