This week has seen significant gains in 5G for the Middle East, both in Saudi Arabia and Oman

2021 has started on a positive light for Middle Eastern 5G, with both Saudi Arabia and Oman marking significant milestones this month.

In Oman, Omantel became the first telco in the Sultanate to launch commercial mobile 5G. The operator launched 5G services for fixed home broadband in December 2019, but it is only now that customers will be able to access the network via their mobile devices.

“We are proud to be the first telecom operator in the Sultanate to commercially launch the 5G network at the end of 2019,” said Omantel’s CEO Talal Said Al Mamari. “Today, we are pleased once again to be the first to launch 5G for mobile, which will open new horizons for the mobile telecommunications sector and will heavily contribute towards supporting growth and digital transformation efforts across different sectors, by facilitating the adoption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies i.e. smart cities, the Internet of Things(IoT) and Artificial Intelligence.’’

Omantel’s closest rival, Ooredoo Oman, has similarly launched 5G home internet, but is yet to launch over mobile. It was also announced last year that Vodafone would be entering the Oman market as the third mobile operator, though when the new player will launch 5G is unknown.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is celebrating having increased its 5G coverage to 51 cities. The quarterly report from Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission said that seven additional cities and provinces had been over the last quarter.

When it comes to total coverage, Zain can claim the top spot, accounting for 44 of the cities and provinces covered by 5G. However, it was STC which achieved the highest download speed in the Kingdom, with its 5G network reaching speeds of 342.35 Mbps. 

In related news, yesterday saw STC announce it had selected Ericsson as its managed services provider in Saudi Arabia. The move will reportedly help STC to increase operational efficiency and indirectly support the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 strategic framework.


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