The Ooredoo Group is the latest telco to dismiss security concerns and announce Huawei as a supplier for its 5G deployments.
For operations in Kuwait, Oman, Indonesia, Tunisia and Maldives, Ooredoo will make use of Huawei’s 5G Single RAN radio solution with advanced Massive MIMO technology, as well as its 5G Cloud Core technologies. Having already launched 5G in Kuwait, Ooredoo plans to bring the next generation of connectivity services to the rest of its footprint through 2020.
“With Huawei’s leading 5G network solution, we will be able to improve our network’s operation efficiency and provide limitless opportunities to our customers,” said Waleed Al Sayed, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer and CEO of Ooredoo Qatar
“Users will enjoy a more streamlined and personalised experience and businesses will be empowered to develop the smart, connected cities of the future.”
While 5G is still in the very early days for Ooredoo, the telco said it applied the technology at the Education City Stadium in Doha, Qatar, during the FIFA World Club Cup final in December. As part of the demonstration, Ooredoo delivered a with a Virtual Stadium at shopping mall in Qatar during the build-up and also showcased a connected ambulance.
Ooredoo has christened itself as the champion of 5G across the region, and while some might disagree, it has pointed to the quarterly financials as a justification. Aside from improved 4G take-up in various regional businesses, the management team pointed towards the launch of 5G in both Qatar and Kuwait as one reason for improved financials across the period. Full year revenues for 2019 were reported at c.£6.3 billion, while revenues for the final quarter surged 8% year-on-year to c.£1.6 billion.
Operator group Ooredoo says it’s the first operator in the world to launch a live 5G network on the 3.5 GHz spectrum band.
The launch announced at Ooredoo Tower in Doha, Qatar and the network is being branded ‘5G Supernet by the operator. It seems limited to parts of Doha for now, but you’ve got to start somewhere. Ooredoo didn’t say who the technology partners are but stressed it’s fully 5G NR standards compliant and they’ve got footballer Lionel Messi involved, so it must be legit.
“Today, Ooredoo and Qatar make history,” said Waleed Al Sayed, CEO of Ooredoo Qatar. “We are the first company in the world to offer access to 5G technology and services, and the people of Qatar are the first to have access to the incredible benefits this technological upgrade will bring. We dedicate this important milestone to the people of Qatar and to our beloved leaders, who have encouraged this step in building the knowledge-based economy of Qatar.
“The 5G Supernet will be the infrastructural backbone of Qatar as our nation pushes to offer the latest smart applications in-line with Qatar National Vision 2030. This network will provide the necessary foundation to introduce a wave of new innovations, including driverless cars and smart roads, virtual and augmented reality, a national fleet of service drones, and much more.”
Fair play to Ooredoo for getting some kind of commercial 5G network up so early, but it remains to be seen how much the lucky residents of Doha will actually be able to use of this technology. We’re not expecting the first 5G handsets until next year and the standards process is still underway, but every live manifestation of 5G tech will at least provide an opportunity to stress-test it in the field and thus contribute to its development.