Saudi Telecom Company announced that its network accomplished the first 5G call from a smartphone. The leadership of the oil kingdom sees an opportunity in the next evolutionary step of telecommunications.
STC Solutions, the Saud Arabia-based telecommunications company, is a leading enabler of 5G technology in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Saud-Arabia has about 1000 telecom towers that support the super-fast mobile connection. STC made its strategy public early in the year that all large cities and with 450 new sites the entire kingdom should have 5G coverage.
The leaders of the country see the 5th generation of wireless systems for what it is, a network built for machines and industry. Haytham Al-Ohali the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology expects that the incorporation of 5G technology will add 20 000 new jobs and $19 billion to the GDP by 2030. ’Saudi Arabia is ranked ahead of the UK and Japan in terms of 4G speeds…I don’t think that increment is really worth the investment from the operators. What I think the promise is, is industry, machine-to-machine.’
The vice minister, who holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, specially mentioned that they were negotiating with industry groups representing driverless car technology and in-factory digitization. The utilization of 5G in health care and education are also under consideration. Haytham Al-Ohali’s words echo the Vision 2030 goals of Saud Arabia, which aim to diversify the country’s economy.
STC’s developing mid-band (3,5 GHZ) 5G network represents the technology of the Ericsson. The other three countries of the Middle East where the Swedish company has secured contracts for 5G equipment and know-how are the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar.
STC signed a deal with Nokia last month to provide equipment, software and services for ultra-high bandwidth 5G development in the western and southern part of Saud Arabia. This project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
STC claimed the first successful indoor 5G trials at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, in partnership with Huawei last March.