Ooredoo Group expands Ericsson 5G tech agreement

New agreement promises new functionalities with faster time-to-market and enhancements to the digital experience for people, enterprises and industries across operating companies in 10 countries

As it continues to expand 5G services across its multiple territories, the Ooredoo Group has signed a global frame agreement with Ericsson for the supply of 5G radio, core and transport products and systems, plus related implementation and integration services.

Ooredoo is an international communications company serving consumers and businesses in 10 countries, operating across the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia, namely Qatar, Indonesia, Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Tunisia, Myanmar and Maldives.

The company, which spent much of 2020 developing 5G solutions, is initially applying 5G in existing frequency bands, beginning with Qatar, where the firm is rushing to develop a next-gen infrastructure ahead of major events, in particular the 2022 Football World Cup.

In July 2020, Ooredoo announced that it had worked with Ericsson to use 5G and 4G carrier aggregation functionality to test successfully the 200MHz of 5G spectrum and achieved a record system throughput of 4.2Gbps, as part of its shift towards complete 5G delivery.

The new global frame agreement will see the delivery of 5G radio, core and transport products and systems, as well as related implementation and integration services. The deal covers all of Ooredoo’s operating companies and Ericsson will provide hardware and software expansions of the core network, radio network and transmission network, as well as enhanced mobile multimedia functionality for new service offerings. Ericsson will also supply support and maintenance services.

The new 5G technology will be used to enable end-to-end 5G support to digitally transform and modernise Ooredoo’s existing mobile networks across its operating companies. These systems are also intended to shorten significantly time-to-market for new services and improve Ooredoo’s network performance to meet the growing expectations of consumers and enterprises.

The agreement covers Ericsson Radio System, including Mini-Link 6000 products that are capable of 10Gbps, Ericsson Cloud Core, Cloud Infrastructure and Ericsson Cloud Communication technology. The Ericsson Radio System is already deployed and live in several of Ooredoo’s operating companies and in Qatar’s network, using 4G/5G Ericsson Spectrum Sharing, is said to have facilitated rapid nationwide 5G coverage.

In preparation for multiple global sporting events, Ericsson is deploying its latest 5G mid-band Massive MIMO radios to create what it claims will be a unique digital experience for millions of sports fans in stadiums, at home, or on the go.

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“The agreement represents another step in the longstanding and successful partnership between Ericsson and Ooredoo, which enables our company to continue network expansion, enhancement and digital transformation,” said Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Thani, deputy group chief executive officer at the Ooredoo Group.

“Ericsson is bringing state-of-the-art global technologies to the countries we operate in, which enables us to provide the latest digital solutions for communities to enjoy the best of the internet, including connecting the most remote areas, supporting startups digitally and providing immersive experiences for sports fans at upcoming mega-sporting events.”

Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice-president and head of business area networks at Ericsson, said: “5G as a platform for innovation will speed up Ooredoo’s journey towards digital transformation. It will fuel new use cases that cater to evolving consumer and enterprise demands. It is with great pride that we strengthen our collaboration as we continue supporting Ooredoo’s ambition of delivering high-performing networks and superior user experience.”

The Ooredoo deal is the second in a matter of days sealed by Ericsson to supply 5G technology and services in Asia. It follows an agreement with Thai provider DTAC to provide 5G radio access network (RAN) products and solutions to cover the Bangkok metropolitan area, the Thai central plains and the country’s eastern economic and industrial region.

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