Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Nokia have signed a deal to deploy a 5G network in the kingdom with 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 already ongoing and 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’s CEO Nasser Al-Nasser said: ‘We are excited to work with Nokia on the Aspiration project which will help us realise our dream to be the first one to launch 5G services in the region. Once completed our subscribers will be able to enjoy innovative high bandwidth consuming use cases. The project underscores our support and commitment to the National Transformation Plan 2020 and the Government’s Vision 2030 to drive Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation into a knowledge economy. The leadership of our longstanding partner, Nokia, in the development of 5G is crucial for our launch of 5G services.’
In a related development, meanwhile, STC has also signed a 5G deal with Swedish vendor Ericsson under which the Saudi cellco will deploy a 5G network on the 3.5GHz band using Ericsson’s hardware and solutions. According to the vendor, 5G at mid and high bands is well-suited for deployment at existing site grids, especially when combined with low-band LTE. Commenting on the deal, STC’s CEO added: ‘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.’