Zain and Nokia have been working together on 5G in KSA since they signed a Memorandum of understanding in 2017. In June 2019, Nokia firmed up the relationship with a three-year, end-to-end contract to roll-out 5G to 4,000 sites, then on the 5th of October 2019 Zain launched its 5G networks and services that covered multiple cities including Jeddah and the holy city of Mekkah. This achievement saw the Zain-Nokia partnership rolling out more than 1000 5G sites in the three-month period. The first phase of 5G deployment is provided through a network of 2,000 sites to cover a total of 26 Saudi Cities by end of 2019.As well as enhancing mobile broadband services in KSA, the ultra-high bandwidth and low-latency 5G network provided by Zain will enable new applications and services offering such as advanced industrial automation, improved education, healthcare, entertainment, and immersive virtual reality services, similar to the services offered at Hajj this year. Not only does it demonstrate Zain’s innovation credentials, but it is central to a wider national strategy designed to improve the digital infrastructure and digital life of the country and will ensure widespread socio-economic benefits across KSA.
Zain has invested in multiple solutions and services including 5G RAN, microwave backhaul, NetAct traffic management, security, services, and Bell Labs Consulting Services. Each of the Nokia BTS will carry dual radio for 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz, along with massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (mMIMO). This means that Zain can deliver enhanced network capacity, coverage, and improved downlink and uplink speeds. The insights delivered by Nokia's Bell Labs Consulting Services will help them identify and deliver the most relevant low latency use cases that will support National Transformation Plan 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030.