Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has amended the mobile licences held by Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo Qatar to allow for the commercial deployment of 5G services. Existing concessions held by the cellular duo have been replaced with a single ‘Radio Spectrum Licence’ that includes harmonised terms and conditions for both companies. Further, each company has been authorised to utilise a 100MHz block of spectrum in the 3500MHz-3800MHz frequency band for 5G services. As per the licensing conditions, both cellcos are committed to rolling out commercial 5G networks before the end of 2020 in all densely populated areas, as well as covering all primary roads and highways and all venues associated with FIFA 2022 World Cup – including stadiums and fan zones.
Vodafone has claimed that the upgrade of its 5G trial concession to a full licence means that it is one of the ‘first operators in the world to be live with 5G commercially’. Indeed, as of 1 January 2019 Gulf Bridge International (GBI) – a trial enterprise 5G customer since August 2018 – has been classified as the ‘first entity to be commercially connected to Vodafone’s 5G network’. Additional 5G consumer connections are expected to go live in Doha later this month.