ROUNDUP: GULF 5G PLANS
What Gulf nations have announced what with 5G rollout plants? We take a look.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Both du and Etisalat have been pushing hard for nationwide 5G coverage – and have invested large amounts towards the infrastructure required. At Expo 2020 – beginning in October 2020 in Dubai – Etisalat has announced it will be providing free 5G WiFi for all visitors.
VIVA Bahrain has been especially aggressive in pushing for a 5G rollout. Back in 2017, Batelco and Ericsson conducted the first 5G trials in Bahrain.
Operator Zain has been investing heavily in 5G, and has claimed its 5G network will be available to the public in 2019. VIVA Kuwait and other operators have also announced 5G plans.
Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has formed a national-level team – which includes members from the TRA and mobile network operators in the Sultanate – to develop a 5G strategy, including how to tackle challenges that could arise during the roll-out. It is estimated 5G will not be rolled out before 2020, however.
In 2018, the eastern Saudi city Al Khobar has become the first city in the MENA region to test a 5G network. Operator STC is now working on rolling out 5G across the country, beginning in the eastern region. Says STC Group CEO Eng. Nasser Al Nasser: “We have the confidence, knowledge and innovation that will enable us to lead the 5G era.”