Nokia and Zain KSA Expand 5G Partnership


Nokia and Saudi Arabian mobile operator Zain are expanding their strategic 5G partnership. In a press release, Nokia announced that Zain will rollout 60,000 FastMile 5G Gateways across Saudi Arabia over the next 12 months. The 5G fixed wireless access gateways are the first to incorporate eSIMS (embedded SIM), aligning with Zain KSA’s digital transformation strategy to enhance the customer experience.

FastMile 5G gateways connect homes and businesses with ultra-fast 5G technology and support Wi-Fi 6. The gateways will deliver a stronger signal, better connectivity and ultra-high data speed to every corner of homes and offices in the Kingdom. The move allows Zain KSA to support smart home and office adoption in the country with enhanced connectivity for smart devices through 5G and Wi-Fi 6, which all together guarantees an improved customer experience.

Nokia FastMile 5G gateways take advantage of the company’s self-optimizing mesh Wi-Fi 6 solution for real-time Wi-Fi performance optimization. The gateways ensure a much quicker and easier account setup by using the latest eSIM technology that allows users to avoid the process of acquiring and installing a physical SIM card. This deployment is the first time eSIM has been used in a 5G fixed wireless access solution.

Eng. AbdulRahman bin Hamad AlMufadda, Chief Technology Officer at Zain KSA, said: “Rolling out our new 5G fixed wireless access routers comes in line with our digital transformation and 5G expansion strategy reiterating our role in serving the Kingdom’s society. Our mission from the start was to strengthen the 5G experience in the Kingdom into two levels: horizontally, concerned with spreading the 5G network across the largest possible geographical scale. Vertically, through 5G fixed wireless access solutions to enable homes and offices with the best and most reliable broadband experience available. In alignment with Saudi Vision 2030 we will continue to invest further to enable the digital sector and the national digital transformation namely through cloud computing, IoT, and AI; while simultaneously aiming to become the digital service provider of choice in the Kingdom.”

He added, “We are delighted to launch the 5G fixed wireless access devices, to ensure that homes and businesses can enjoy the fastest and most reliable broadband experience. As such, Zain KSA becomes the pioneering operator in the latest generation of telco services to deploy Nokia FastMile 5G Gateways which is another milestone added in our reliable and secure 5G network to revolutionize the way people live and work.”

Sandra Motley, President of Fixed Networks Division at Nokia, said: “We are happy to support Zain KSA connect more people, and revolutionize the way people live and work in the Kingdom. Zain KSA is joining the leading operators around the world, in providing the 5G fixed wireless access to deliver a gigabit experience to consumers and businesses alike. The combination of FastMile 5G Gateways and self-optimizing mesh Wi-Fi 6 technology means that Zain KSA is delivering a new and unmatched 5G experience to everyone, at every corner in homes and offices.”

Both companies are committed to extending their cooperation on 5G to achieve the best possible coverage, stability, and bandwidth for Saudi Arabia. Zain KSA, one of the world’s pioneering 5G network operators, ranked as the largest 5G rollout out in Saudi, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and fourth globally.

It has an established relationship with Nokia where in June 2019 the two companies announced a three-year deal to rollout 5G to thousands of sites using Nokia’s comprehensive portfolio, introducing 5G using 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz along with massive multiple-input multiple-output (mMIMO) to deliver enhanced network capacity and coverage with enhanced data speeds. The deal also introduced E-Band microwave in certain areas to allow for ultra-high-capacity backhaul networks.

Nokia FastMile Gateways 3.1 support Wi-Fi 6 that delivers 40% higher throughput and lower latency compared to Wi-Fi 5. The Gateways also support EasyMesh, which gives end-users more choice to mix and match different access points on their home Wi-Fi network. Nokia has complemented EasyMesh with additional software for automatic Wi-Fi interference detection and mitigation to increase Wi-Fi performance.

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