Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has announced that seven additional cities and provinces were covered by 5G services in Q4 2020, bringing the total to 51 cities and provinces in various regions of Saudi Arabia.
CITC’s quarterly ‘Meqyas’ report highlighted that Zain led in terms of 5G footprint in the Kingdom, covering 44 cities and provinces, followed by the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) with 22 and Mobily with 21 cities and provinces.
STC recorded the highest average 5G download speed of up to 342.35Mbps, followed by Zain (338.12MB) and Mobily (220.86Mbps). The Meqyas report also revealed that Zain has deployed 5G services in all regions of the Kingdom except Makkah, in which Mobily recorded the best performance during Q4 2020.
Separately, STC announced the deployment of its 5G network in 47 cities around the country. It’s part of its plan to strengthen its leadership in reliable mobile coverage and deploy the largest 5G network in the Middle East. According to STC, phase 2 of the plan will increase 5G network coverage in Saudi Arabia to over 71 cities across the country.
As part of its infrastructure enhancement, the FTTH fiber optic network is also going to be expanded. This will enable higher broadband speeds and services to home and business users. In addition, STC has also confirmed that it has been expanding its global Internet Gateway, progressively growing the capacity of the network.
Eng. Haithem Al Faraj, SVP, technology and operations, STC, said: “STC will continue to pursue an aggressive 5G expansion, together with growth in its advanced 4G network.”
STC has selected Ericsson as its managed services provider in Saudi Arabia. As part of the agreement, Ericsson will deploy Ericsson Operations Engine to strengthen STC’s network operations with the latest technology solutions to transform operations to a predictive and proactive automated operation.
Ericsson will deploy its latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered software suite and machine learning tools and capabilities to provide an automated end-to-end managed operations service. The Ericsson Operation Engine will support activities in Network Operation, IT Operations and Field Support and Maintenance for stc’s networks, covering technology domains from the core to access, including 5G.
The suite will further empower stc to maintain its network quality at the highest level and deliver the best user experiences via transition towards a data-driven and proactive identification of network and performance issues.
The agreement will enable STC to succeed in its operational efficiency and digitization objectives in support of the Saudi Vision 2030.
Bader Abdullah Allhieb, Operations Vice President, STCs, says: “We are committed to providing a futuristic network that enables world-class experience for our customers in Saudi Arabia and this agreement shows our commitment in this direction. We are confident that this partnership with Ericsson will strengthen STC’s operational capabilities to improve our people’s quality of life and contributing to the economic and social development of Saudi Arabia in line with Saudi Vision 2030.”
Mathias Johansson, Vice President and Head of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Today’s network managed services agreement demonstrates STC’s continued confidence in our end-to-end solutions and IT operations. Through Ericsson Operations Engine, we will be able to develop data-driven insights to deliver enhanced performance focused on end-user experience. We will continue to work closely with STC to ensure consumers, enterprises and society benefit from the new experiences, services, and capabilities enabled by 5G.”
STC said it will continue to pursue its market leadership in the field of new and advanced technologies to achieve a significant and comprehensive expansion of its 5G network, while also developing its advanced 4G network.