Zain KSA, a prominent service provider in the Middle East region, is setting new benchmarks for providing an extremely reliable and high performing 5G network experience.
Recently, it emerged as having the best 5G network and data performance in the capital city of Riyadh, according to the Umlaut report, the world leader in the field of testing the efficiency of communications networks.
“Zain shows the strongest pure 5G coverage in Riyadh city with at least 27% more than the competition,” says the Umlaut report. More importantly, Zain KSA has the highest 5G peak data rates in Riyadh, and the reliability of Zain’s 5G data services shows an excellent performance with success rates of at least 98.8%. In addition, Zain’s data stream file upload rate registered a high of 99.4% for 5G. Its network also recorded the highest download and upload speeds of 635.4 Mbps and 112.2 Mbps, respectively.
The results from the Umlaut report are significant because its scoring methodology comprises a wide range of testing scenarios and categories. It used the latest smartphones in a moving vehicle roaming the city over a distance of 1733 km, so the results reflect the on-ground network performance over a wide area.
Zain KSA also excelled in network performance in the OpenSignal report, which showed that Zain’s 5G network covers all the 48 Saudi provinces, making 5G services ubiquitous. It won the best 5G availability with a strong score of 28.4%, which is 7.1% more than the STC and Mobily numbers. The data is obtained based on the time and rate of 5G users accessing the 3G/4G/5G network in actual use, reflecting the real user experience.
In the OpenSignal report, conducted in January 2021 this year, Zain KSA left the other two competitors behind with 374Mbps download rates, which is 113.1Mbps (43.3%) more than STC and 2.5 times more than Mobily.
Zain KSA’s well-planned strategy and exemplary performance helped Riyadh stand out ahead of the other capital cities. As a result, it ranked first among the world capitals in 5G network service speed at a rate of 317.3 Mbps, ahead of Tokyo and Dublin, according to the Open Signal report for a period of January to March 2021.
What Makes Zain Excel in 5G
Saudi Arabia is one of the most competitive markets in the world, dominated by three players, Zain, Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Mobily. Zain had the lowest market share of just 20%. The company decided to focus and invest heavily in 5G to gain market share. It was one of the first ones to launch 5G in the region. Through 2018-19, Zain collaborated with industry leaders and set up aggressive rollout targets to gain a lead in the 5G market.
The service provider’s exceptional performance means that Zain KSA’s network strategy is paying it rich benefits. Zain is the only service provider to use spectrum from two different frequency bands, 2.6GHz and 3.5Ghz for 5G New Radio (NR). This helps Zain KSA provide exceptional network service in the country.
Thanks to comprehensive 5G coverage Zain today leads the 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) market with more than 170,000 subscribers in Saudi Arabia. Strategy Analytics estimates that at the end of 2020, Zain had a 60% market share in 5G FWA, while it has just a 19% share in the mobile market. Moreover, in Q3 2020, Zain was able to generate over 6% of revenue from 5G FWA even though it accounts for less than 1.5% of its subscriber base.
This performance was especially helped it shine last year when the COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in data consumption. “With lockdowns putting unprecedented strain on both our networks as well as our capacity to see and serve our customers, we have not only managed to survive but thrive in this environment. Zain’s aggressive approach to gain 5G customers through standalone and family plans bolstered by superior coverage has helped us achieve strong growth,” says Fabricio Martinez, 5G Launch PMO, Zain KSA.
Advanced 5G Massive Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) Active Antenna Unit (AAU) is at the centre of Zain’s 5G success. Weighing just 25 kg, it consumes the same power as 4G RRU and provides the largest bandwidth of 400MHz. Additionally, its Adaptive High Resolution (AHR) algorithm enables telcos, like Zain, to further expand network capacity in scenarios with high user density and strong interference. It has helped provide Zain exceptional coverage and superior customer experience to its subscribers, which has helped it lead the 5G market in Saudi Arabia.
Zain KSA has used leading-edge technology solutions, including Massive MIMO AAU, to gain market share by providing a best-in-class experience to its subscribers. In addition, it has built a robust and reliable 5G network that will continue to provide value in the years to come. More importantly, the exceptional performance of its 5G network has helped put Riyadh on the map of cities with high-speed and world-class 5G speeds.