Ooredoo Qatar’s CEO Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Thani gave a TV interview this week highlighting the operator’s achievements in digital transformation and ICT solutions, including an update on 5G development progress. As reported by The Peninsula newspaper, Sheikh Mohammed stated that 5G mobile network coverage has reached ‘more than 90% of populated areas’ in Qatar, with customers ‘enjoying up to 2.2Gbps’ 5G data speeds and the expectation of being able to offer 4.2Gbps (theoretical) maximum data rates ‘after the completion of all logistics requirements, which we hope will be soon’. He also noted Ooredoo Qatar’s launch this week of a new 5G mobile internet device, the M5 Netgear, ‘one of the most advanced devices in mobile broadband service currently available’. The CEO added: ‘In the coming period, our focus will be on continuing to grow, develop and expand in the field of digital transformation … and covering more areas in Qatar with a 5G network. We will seek to capture new digital opportunities and generate new revenue from digital business.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that Ooredoo Qatar launched consumer 5G mobile smartphone services in July 2019 (alongside rival Vodafone Qatar) with initial ‘free access’ offers, before subsequently introducing 5G ‘unlimited’ data, voice and messaging packages. The country’s 5G licensing conditions stipulate network coverage across at least 40% of licensees’ existing 4G base station footprint by the end of 2020 in addition to all primary roads plus all of Qatar’s FIFA 2022 World Cup venues, including stadiums and fan zones. With an initial stated target of 1,200 5G base stations, Ooredoo is assumed to have already comfortably exceeded the basic coverage requirement, as around 500 live 5G sites would meet the minimum rollout stipulation.
Elsewhere in the interview, Sheikh Mohammed said that Ooredoo Qatar’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network services had now reached coverage of ‘nearly 500,000 homes’. The GlobalComms Database shows that this figure increased only moderately from the most recently confirmed statistic of ‘482,000 premises’ reported by Ooredoo at end-2017. There is ongoing scope for expanding the gigabit fibre access network, however, due to Qatar’s extensive new-build city programmes, with Ooredoo currently implementing FTTH rollouts via contracts with development companies (as is rival Vodafone).
On the company’s role in the preparation of stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, Sheikh Mohammed noted that Ooredoo has ‘signed a contract to provide the eight event stadiums with the latest smart systems worldwide, and will provide an exceptional and event-level experience.’