Zain invests $427mn to expand 5G, digital services in Saudi Arabia – RCR Wireless News

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Zain said it will expand its current 5G network coverage to 122 cities across the country

Saudi telco Zain KSA announced plans to invest a total of SAR1.6 billion ($427 million) to expand its 5G network and digital services ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, local press reported. The operator said it will expand its current 5G network coverage to 122 cities across the country.

Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Deghaither, the CEO of Zain KSA, noted that the expansion plan contributes to strengthening the country’s position as a global hub for innovation, digital solutions and communications.

“The expansion plan falls within a framework of digital inclusivity and sustainability to achieve a tangible developmental impact that touches the lives of individuals and the community in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The telco’s plan stipulates the expansion of its 5G network sites in the country to more than 7,000, covering over 66% of Saudi Arabia’s populated area. The operator also said that nearly 45% of the new expansion plan will support 5G-Advanced (5G-A) technologies.

Zain KSA’s Engineering Executive General Manager Mohammed Abdulazis AlNujaidi recently said that the telco aims to accelerate the deployment of (5G-A) services from 2024.

The telco launched 5G-A services last year. The initial launch took place in the capital of Riyadh, with the aim of offering differentiated FWA 2.0 services, the executive said during a presentation at MWC 2024, which took place earlier this year in Barcelona, Spain.

The executive explained that the carrier’s plans for 2024-2026 include the commercial launch of 5G-A services in Saudi Arabia’s top eight cities. The telco aims to use this technology to offer IoT CCTV for public security governance requirements, he added. Zain said it aims to launch this offering via RedCap technology.

The telco’s 5G-A plans for 2027-2030 includes the second phase of its 5G-A program, in which the country’s main 18 cities will be covered with 5G-A technology.

Last year, Chinese vendor Huawei and Zain had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on their ‘5.5G’ City joint innovation project.

Under the terms of the agreement, both parties will jointly work to promote technological innovation for so-called 5.5G evolution and expand scalable offerings to individual, enterprise, and government customers across Saudi Arabia.

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