STC signs 5G network deal with Nokia and Ericsson

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has selected Nokia and Ericsson to deploy its 5G network in Saudi Arabia.
Nokia 5G base station
STC will use Nokia’s equipment, software and services to set up a 5G network first in the western and southern part of Saudi Arabia. STC will complete the 5G network by end of 2020.

The deal with Nokia involves multiple firsts in STC’s network, including the introduction of cloud RAN and AirScale, as well as the deployment of the Wavence platform in the microwave and the AirScale indoor radio, Federico Guillen, president of Customer Operations, EMEA & APAC at Nokia, said.

STC’s 5G mobile network using Ericsson hardware and solutions include radio access network (RAN), packet core, transport, and Ericsson Network Manager. The network modernization – comprising latest wireless and fixed broadband technologies, boosted speed and 5G deployment – will operate on a 3.5 GHZ band, Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said.

Nasser Al-Nasser, group CEO of STC, said: “The Aspiration project will help us realize our dream to be the first one to launch 5G services in the region.”

STC and Cisco at the Mobile World Congress 2018 announced partnership for developing 5G communication systems and networks. It’s not clear whether STC will be selecting Cisco as well for the 5G network.

Haithem Mohammed Alfaraj, who is senior VP of Technology and Operations at Saudi Telecom Company, is responsible for its technology platforms. STC in January said the number of FTTH customers rose 18 percent to 600,000 customers in Saudi Arabia.

STC reported service revenue of SR 13,166 million (+5.3 percent) in Q4 and SR 52,068 million (+2.7 percent) in 2018. STC’s operating profit reached SR 3,487 million (+21.1 percent) in Q4 and SR 12,256 million (+11.6 percent) in 2018.