Ooredoo announced at a launch event yesterday (14 May 2018) that its 5G NR-based 3500MHz network is now ‘live’, claiming a first of its type in the world. The first Ooredoo 5G NR cell site was switched on a few days after the operator’s new ‘5G Commercial Core Network’ was activated, and it announced that the first stage of the ‘Ooredoo 5G Supernet’ deployment will cover an area from The Pearl Qatar to Hamad International Airport, with Lagoona, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay, the Corniche and Souq Waqif also included in the initial commercial launch coverage scope. More areas of Qatar are earmarked for coverage ‘over the coming months’.
5G NR technology offers higher speeds and capacity, plus better latency, than existing cellular systems, and Ooredoo declared that the new network ‘will provide the necessary foundation to introduce a wave of new innovations, including driverless cars and smart roads, virtual and augmented reality, a national fleet of service drones, and much more’.
A press release added that ‘access to the Ooredoo 5G Supernet will require a 5G compatible device from Ooredoo’, but although the company claimed ‘the first commercially available 5G network in the world’, the announcement did not mention device availability.