Kuwait telecoms giant STC announced earlier last week the successful commercialization step of implementing 5G Stand Alone (5G SA). The milestone is considered to be the second and most disruptive development of the comprehensive 3GPP 5th generation compliant network.
STC also successfully accomplished the widest scale of 5G deployment coverage on Sub-3GHz and 2.1GHz amongst other mobile service providers in the MENA region. Alongside these two achievements, the company enhanced its infrastructure with the deployment of an advanced automated Business Support System.
In a statement released by the company, STC indicated that it has been progressing with major 5G SA developments to advance its 5G network architecture, enabling the radical transformation of the telecom industry into an as-a-Service model in line with Kuwait’s 2035 vision.
5G SA technology will enable STC’s subscribers to enjoy higher uplink bandwidth, especially catering to specialized use scenarios, such as enterprise applications where uplink throughput is equally important as downlink.
Additionally, the technology will lower user-traffic latency to address key issues related to interruptions in gaming experience, while kicking off market interest in new rich forms of gaming technology like Virtual Reality (VR). 5G SA will also feature higher levels of security that utilize the best industry know-how to provide robustness to telecom networks.
Further empowering Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) deployment, 5G SA will enable STC to become not only Cloud Native, but Edge Native as well. This transition will allow service aggregation near subscriber premises.
From massive data processing in enterprise campus scenarios, real-time data processing in industrial control, and autonomous driving, to massive IoT use cases requiring analytics localization and better user experience for AR/VR/cloud.
5G SA enables different verticals to gain advantage from STC’s infrastructure by creating end-to-end isolated logical networks that share resources in a secured, isolated, and efficient way, also known as Network Slicing.
This allows public and private corporations increase their levels of efficiency and increase revenue when building their private networks, without the hassle of investing in new infrastructure, acquiring new spectrums, developing coverage, and getting capital assets.
STC will also be able to offer diversified digital services to verticals, such as guaranteed voice over 5G applications (VoNR), dedicated data access, dedicated internet access, as well as on-demand services such as, cloud CCTV capabilities to empower enhanced smart city services to citizens and assist businesses in innovating and generating new revenue streams in untapped markets.
Focusing on the user experience and enhanced 5G coverage, especially indoors and in weak coverage spots, STC started delivering Sub-3GHz 2.1GHz 5G NR with national wide implementation since mid-2020.
Currently, 2.1GHz 5G NR sites have been strategically installed in dense districts. To further boost its infrastructure coverage, STC plans to deploy more sites in 2021.
The new deployment will play an important role for a number of years to come, providing enhanced Quality of Experience (QoE) for multiple 5G use cases, such as HD voice, 4K video streaming, online gaming, telemedicine and collaborative applications.
The services are offered over the most popular 2.1 GHz 5G NR supported smartphones and other 5G devices including Apple, Samsung, and Huawei devices. This will enable smoother access to 5G Carrier Aggregation (CA) Services and mass deployment for Internet of Thing (IoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) over STC’s 5G infrastructure offering enhanced smart city services to users, while assisting businesses in launching new-to-market solutions.
In parallel, STC has been systematically working on monetizing its 5G infrastructure with advanced Business Support Systems toward native cloud Network architecture. The systems aim to introduce innovative Network-as-a-Service models capable of integrating 3rd party APIs and utilizing DevOps Tools to suit wide-ranges of industry transformations.
“STC positions itself to provide state-of-the-art 5G intelligent connectivity and agile 5G SA cloud native infrastructure to ensure mapping of business and government transformations,” Fahad Abdulrahman Al Ali, Chief Technology Officer at STC, noted in the statement.
The company’s strategic plans tie in new opportunities by utilizing new generation 5G infrastructure with rich multidimensional designs and a native cloud architecture to offer enterprises with guaranteed Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
After the large-scale deployment of Sub-3GHz 5G, STC projects high levels of improved in-depth coverage and user experience of STC’s 5G network, laying a solid foundation for the sound development of 5G MBB services.
Omantel successfully tests enhanced 5G at its HQ
Omantel has successfully tested on Monday the 5G High Band at its headquarters in Madinat al Irfan under the supervision of TRA.
The 5G test using the mmWave, which successfully concluded recently in association with Ericsson, demonstrated enhanced network capabilities with mmWave bandwidth more than multiple times higher than existing 5G speed.
In a press release issued today, the telco said that “The successful 5G test paves the way for enhanced 5G capabilities for consumers and businesses across the Sultanate. The next step may see 5G greatly enhances user experience at mobile broadband hotspots when using the fixed and mobile internet especially in crowded spaces such as during festivals and events.”
The technology will also enable low-latency industry applications like Augmented Reality (AR), its applications, robots, and other future technologies, according to Omantel.
Dr. Ali Al Hashmi General Manager of Networks at Omantel said, “mmWave 5G technology is a cornerstone of upcoming 5G networks, allowing for faster data speeds and much higher bandwidth than ever before.”
He added: “The success of 5G test with Ericsson paves the way for many more applications as 5G has opened up possibilities of newer, smarter solutions in every area of daily life and business. Omantel is happy to have partnered with Ericsson for this and look forward to exciting new applications as Oman Vision 2040 opens a new chapter in Oman’s ICT landscape.”
State-owned Omantel announced four months ago the launch of its 5G mobile services within the Sultanate, providing users further value and speed, as they place the full potential of the fifth generation of communications into their hands.
The operator had previously setup its 5G rollout roadmap as early back as 2019, with Oman introducing 5G home broadband for certain areas around the country in December of the same year.
Ability to deliver multi-gigabit speeds
The trial demonstrated Omantel’s ability to deliver multi-gigabit speeds to end- user with eight cell carrier aggregation functionalities using Ericsson’s state-of-the-art Street macro mm Wave solution and advanced 5G software features. The trial used a carrier bandwidth of 800MHz at 26GHz.
The last few years have seen Omantel emerge as the leader in 5G network capabilities. Several live field trials, followed by the introduction of Massive MIMO technology in some governorates of Oman to bring high-speed cross-network data transmission for its subscribers laid the groundwork for the official launch of fixed wireless 5G services in Oman in late 2019, followed by 5G for mobile in 2021.
Ooredoo Oman 5G record for MIMO single user downlink data rate
Ooredoo Oman said it recently recorded downlink speeds of more than 5 Gbps on a commercial 5G Massive MIMO single sector, one of the first such tests in the region.
Demonstrating its technology leadership, 5G Massive MIMO delivers eight times more capacity for home internet compared to 4G, and 20 times more capacity on mobile.
As the latest major milestone in its 5G rollout, the achievement builds on Ooredoo’s continual efforts to improve user experience, drive innovation and position Oman as a technologically advanced society.
Dr. Ahmed Abdullah Al Abri, Chief Technology & Information Officer at Ooredoo, said, “This achievement is a big moment for us as our 5G network continues to take shape. The peak value that 5G technology can offer on a single sector is around 5.7 Gbps and we have managed to achieve 90 percent of it, one of the highest in the region. This ultimately translates to a considerably improved experience for our users and unprecedented development opportunities for the Sultanate.”
As such, some 70 percent of Qatar is now covered by 5G, and with more and more devices being 5G-enabled, according to Ooredoo. “It won’t be long before everyone can experience the incredible power of 5G. We’ve even included 5G as part of the recent revamp of our postpaid plans,” it added.
Among Ooredoo Oman 5G plans are to construct and install around 2,000 5G stations over the next five years, with the potential to benefit everything from entertainment and education to scientific research and healthcare.
We are the pioneers of the commercial 5G network since 2018, the telco highlighted, and we’re working hard to give you access to our lightning speed network anywhere in the world.
As part of the telco ambitious roadmap to continue to build on its promise to take its customers’ internet experience to a new level, Ooredoo Oman 5G home Internet is considered to be a great value for home access, mobile, and business plans, which are currently available now.
Users can benefit from improved network coverage, stability with almost zero delay, as well as incredible download speeds.
Jio Platforms, Qualcomm to manufacture critical 5G equipment
Reliance Industries Limited said that its Jio Platforms has collaborated with U.S.-based chipmaker Qualcomm technologies for local manufacturing of “critical equipment” to catalyze the 5G ecosystem in India.
Both companies previously partnered to develop “open and interoperable” interface compliant architecture based 5G solutions with a virtualized RAN and had last year achieved over a 1 Gbps milestone on the Jio 5GNR solution using the chipmaker’s 5G RAN Platforms.
Interestingly, Qualcomm has recently joined hands with Jio’s archrival Bharti Airtel for the telco’s 5G roll out in India. Under the partnership, Airtel will leverage Qualcomm’s 5G RAN platforms to rollout virtualized and Open-RAN 5G networks in India.
In addition, Jio has already developed an end-to-end 5G stack, including 5G radio and core network solutions. RIL revealed that the telco has already completed testing of its 5G radio and core solution, which will now enable a self-sufficient and cost-effective rollout.
“India is at the forefront of the global digital revolution. Jio is accelerating the rollout of digital platforms and indigenously developed next-generation 5G stack, making it affordable and available everywhere,” RIL said in its annual report, adding that the telecom operator’s radio frequency capacity and coverage for 5G networks is already underway based on 4G data traffic profile.
As such, Qualcomm also invested $97 million in Jio Platforms last year.
Reliance Jio is currently preparing for 5G field trials having received trial spectrum from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The telco will test its own 5G technology but will also work with its 4G partner Samsung along with Ericsson and Nokia.
RIL also revealed that Jio Platforms is also working with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) on standardizing 5G device configurations.
“With 5G technology, Indian subscribers will experience the benefits of higher data rates, low latency communications and enhanced digital experiences across a wide array of connected devices, from 5G-enabled smartphones, enterprise laptops and AR/VR products to vertical IoT solutions,” RIL said.
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