Saudi is leading the region into a new broadband era

May 28, 2018 1:13 pm


Saudi is rolling out the speediest network in the region.

So fast, that you won’t be able to blink before you link.

Al-Khobar in the Eastern Province, of Saudi Arabia, has become the first city in the region to benefit from the fifth-generation wireless network or 5G network, according to a press statement issued by the Center of International  Communication.

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An early Ramadan gift

The statement highlighted said that the project surpasses the limits of previous wireless technologies with a data-transmission speed of more than 1Gbps.

The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) plans to convert the test-and-trial licenses to full and exclusive 5G spectrum awards in 3.4-3.8 GHz by mid-2019.

The Saudi government has long recognized the importance of broadband communications, with the recent unbanning for VoIP services, and the potential benefits of 5G technologies now fit well into the country’s plans to build a leading modern economy as outlined in its Vision 2030, the report noted.

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Abdullah Al-Sawaha, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said: “Saudi Arabia is determined to be a world leader in 5G to take early advantage of its benefits.”

Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Ruwais, the Governor of CITC, said “Now Saudi Arabia has become one of the first countries to provide and activate it so it can take early advantage of the gains from it,” he said.

Al-Ruwais, however, emphasized that to achieve a connected society, 5G services require access to spectrum in a variety of bands to support the multitude of use cases, including the need to improve the quality of the services offered, and to accommodate much wider channels than those in use today.

Specialized work is carried out in three subcommittees that deal respectively with “5G Spectrum”, “5G Development” and “5G verticals”.

Over the past 12 months, CITC awarded 160 MHz of additional IMT spectrum in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, and 1800 MHz bands to mobile operators Mobily, Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) and Zain.

This makes Saudi Arabia a regional leader in terms of awarded International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) spectrum in sub-GHz IMT bands and should help support the organic growth of domestic mobile network capacities, from 3G and 4G to 5G, according to officials.

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National 5G Task Force

To aid the development of 5G and prepare the necessary administrative foundations, the National 5G Task Force was established earlier this year, uniting government, operators, equipment vendors and potential user groups.

All the necessary national 5G policies and supporting administrative provisions are planned to be in place before the end of 2019, along with the award of initial batches of the spectrum to support the full commercial deployment of 5G technologies.

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Some aren’t happy

Many citizens in the region have voiced their opinions on the matter using Reddit.

One user, in particular, shared his complaints on the already implemented 4G network.

The user who goes by the name, Faude, said: “If it’s anything like 4G, you’ll get a few seconds of speed before it drops to zero because there still isn’t enough capacity to handle all the traffic.”

But he added: “Obviously this varies by neighborhood. If yours is good, mabrook.”

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Edmon Abdul Nur
By Edmon Abdul Nur
Technology Editor
Edmon Abdul Nur has more than 3 years of professional experience in technology research, cybersecurity testing, and IT understanding.



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