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Nokia and Zain MoU to bring 5G and IoT to Saudi Arabia

Steve Rogerson
March 9, 2017
Nokia and mobile operator Zain KSA have agreed to work together on developing 5G and IoT, defining a clear path towards building the next-generation ultra-broadband networks in Saudi Arabia.
The MoU, signed at last week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, will enable the two companies to develop next-generation 5G and IoT applications and support the Saudi National Transformation Plan 2020. The joint effort could pave the way for new, innovative services and applications towards building smart cities with IoT in the country.
The MoU was signed by Peter Kaliaropoulos, chief executive officer of Zain Saudi Arabia, and Ashish Chowdhary, chief customer operations officer of Finnish company Nokia.
"Zain and Nokia have been closely working together for over a decade and have achieved many MEA- and Saudi-firsts in our joint endeavour to bring innovative mobile broadband services and world-class customer experience to the Kingdom,” said Kaliaropoulos. “With this MoU, we are now taking this strong partnership to the next level, evolving towards building the next-generation 5G networks. We are confident again that in this journey we will mark many more industry-firsts, which will enable us to play our role in the digital transformation of the country towards the knowledge based economy."
The low latency and reliability of 5G technology will enable connectivity for billions of devices in the IoT. Use cases including connected mobility, industrial networking, smart factories and offices, remote healthcare, virtual reality and ultra high definition video services will help many sectors grow exponentially.
"Working with our partner Nokia, we aim to provide the next generation ultra-broadband services,” said Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, chief technology officer at Zain Saudi Arabia. “This agreement will take us closer to providing a commercial 5G network in the Saudi market by introducing 4.5G Pro and 4.9G technologies to Zain's network during the course of 2017. According to telecoms experts, 5G networks will not only provide faster internet speeds, but also enable new applications such as IoT broadcast-like services and lifeline critical communications in times of natural disaster."
While Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia have already started working together to transform Jeddah into a smart city, further collaboration through the new agreement will take that to the next level towards smart, safe and sustainable cities across Saudi Arabia.
Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain customer Team at Nokia, added: "Nokia fully understands Zain's priorities and is committed to bringing the latest mobile broadband technologies to Saudi Arabia through market-leading trials and deployments such as 4.5G Pro, 4.9G, DFCA, multi-band carrier aggregation and the re-farming of the 900MHz band. Our continued collaboration with Zain will modernise its network towards 5G, building the foundation for IoT and smart cities in the Kingdom."
Nokia will collaborate with Zain to evolve the operator's network towards 5G by introducing 4.5G Pro and 4.9G technologies in Saudi Arabia, and support the National Transformation Plan 2020. The companies will jointly carry out trials of Nokia's technologies including AirScale, which is the radio platform in Nokia's 5G First, transport network technologies, analytics and Cloud RAN using AirFrame data centre services.
They plan to showcase 5G use cases including industrial robotics and M2M critical communications in the Zain Innovation Lab, and trial end-to-end 5G use cases during Hajj 2019 in live networks.