How Ooredoo Group is Accelerating Network Enhancements to Embrace 5G

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From North Africa and the Arabian Gulf to Southeast Asia, Ooredoo is pushing forward with a group-wide modernization programme to enhance customers’ digital experiences, all in an effort to stay one step ahead of competitors in the global race to deliver 5G services.

As part of the company’s heavy investment in building world-class networks across its footprint -providing a greater range of opportunities for people to access employment, education, and entertainment wherever they are – Ooredoo is leading the technology scene, achieving world’s firsts on many levels.

Ookla®, the global leader in internet testing and analysis, has named four of Ooredoo’s operating companies as “Fastest Mobile Network” in Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Myanmar for the first half of 2018. The results confirmed as well the Ooredoo Qatar has the fastest mobile network in the world.

These results were based on in-country tests that were made during Q1-Q2 2018 in each of the winning markets.

Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, Chief Executive Officer, Ooredoo Group, said: “Today, most communication needs depend on wireless devices, whether to make crystal clear calls or to use the Internet and stay connected anywhere. At Ooredoo, we pay close attention to how our customers use our network to be able to respond with the necessary enhancements and enable them to experience seamless, superfast connectivity at all times.”

Ooredoo Group continues to invest heavily in the markets where it operates, implementing network modernization projects across companies.

Introducing 5G

Building on an impressive number of earlier milestones, including the first-in-the-region trials of 5G on Qatar National Day in 2016, the completion of 10 5G-ready base stations in May 2017, and the launch of the 5G Business services trial in partnership with Qatar Airways in November 2017, Ooredoo Qatar was the first operator in the world to have launched a live commercial 5G network in May 2018 – a major technological breakthrough for Ooredoo and the telecommunications industry worldwide.

As well, Ooredoo Qatar has reached another world-first milestone, with the delivery of the first commercial 5G home broadband devices. Today, with more than 85 5G network towers on-air around Doha, the company is pushing forward with testing the world’s largest live 5G network.

And indeed, most recently Ooredoo Qatar showcased the true power and speed of 5G with Smart City technology that will be available in the future.

At the event, Ooredoo has successfully tested a number of technologies in different locations around The Pearl Qatar, including the world’s first Self-Driving 5G connected Aerial Taxi, a 5G Experience Bus and a futuristic 8K VR experience on a modern House Boat.

In Kuwait, Ooredoo has launched 5G on a number of test sites, with internet speeds reaching more than 2 Gbps. The launch comes as the company prepares to release the biggest, highly advanced network across Kuwait in 2018.

This launch follows the completion of a network upgrade in more than 1,100 locations across Kuwait, aimed at increasing network capacity. Ooredoo Kuwait has also increased the number of sites with updated LTE-A technology to better serve the latest and upcoming models of routers and smartphones.

Ooredoo Myanmar successfully rolled out 4G+ across 244 townships, enabling more than 16 million people to access high speed internet services. This, in addition to becoming the first operator in Myanmar to showcase Voice over LTE (VoLTE). Earlier this year, the company completed a 4G Pro network demonstration, showcasing its readiness to bring in 5G. Trials of 5G services are expected to start this year.

Commenting on the major milestones, Sheikh Saud said: “As the number of connected devices grows, there’s a greater need for data transmission and more efficient technology to support it, which is why it’s now time for 5G. This technology will facilitate substantial growth in the Internet of Things, seeing that almost everything is connected and communicating. People around the world will experience the power of 5G, helping consumers enjoy the internet more and businesses to run more efficiently than ever.”

Boosting network speeds and expansion

Carrying on with network modernization projects across Ooredoo companies, Ooredoo Oman has successfully expanded its high-speed 4G network to more than 900 new locations, with Ooredoo’s 4G now covering over 90% of Oman’s population.

Ooredoo Algeria has successfully rolled out its 4G network across the country, becoming the first operator ever to cover all 48 provinces (Wilayas). Today, with the largest 4G network in Algeria, Ooredoo enables nearly 50% of the population to access superfast internet and benefit from all the digital opportunities that come with it.

In Tunisia, 92% of the population has access to Ooredoo Tunisia’s 4G network, with over 350 additional 4G sites added in 2018.

Indosat Ooredoo continues to expand its 4G network and plans significant expansion of its 4G coverage in 2019.

To meet the evolving needs of its customers in terms of internet speeds, data usage, latency and better video experience, Ooredoo Maldives was the first operator in Maldives to have rolled out 4G network nationwide and upgraded its transmission network to full IP, enabling everyone on the Ooredoo network to enjoy a great data experience. Ooredoo Maldives was also the first Ooredoo company to have been granted a 5G spectrum licence in February 2018 and plans to trial 5G technology in the near future.

In Palestine, Ooredoo’s Wataniya Mobile has successfully launched 3G services in West Bank earlier this year and is seeing strong demand on the service. With this launch, Wataniya Mobile’s customers are now enjoying high quality voice calls and internet access, video calls and mobile TV via their smartphones, using the company’s fastest 3G network in the West Bank.

Ooredoo’s Asiacell in Iraq is enabling people to enjoy faster internet speeds, as the company continues to expand its 3G coverage nationwide, building more than 50 new 3G sites in new areas of the country with plans to trial 4G services later this year.

Also this year, Asiacell successfully restored 200 sites in a numbers of areas and modernised and upgraded more than 300 sites to 3G.

Sheikh Saud concluded: “We will continue investing in our networks to ensure seamless connectivity that caters to our customers’ growing digital needs. Our 4G networks deployments across our global footprint is substantially improving both spectral and energy efficiency, which in turn is increasing network capacity for devices that are currently available to customers. Most importantly, we continue to lead the evolution of the 5G ecosystem, working to provide life-changing network enhancements to our customers that will see them enabled to experience connectivity and the Internet of Things in a whole different way – from driverless cars, to flying taxis, to even making purchases that are delivered through 5G-connected drones.”