01/03/2018 06:27 AST

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Cisco have penned a deal designed to pave the way for collaboration for the development of 5G in KSA. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Under the terms of the accord, which is not yet a fully-fledged agreement involving a financial outlay, Cisco would work with STC to transform its network to unlock the commercial potential of ultra-modern 5G mobile networks.

A joint statement said the initiative aimed to facilitate STC’s transformation into a digital service provider and supported its role in promoting Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision and National Transformation Plan.

“We are excited about the next phase of our evolution which will pave the way for massive innovation and give rise to a new breed of services that benefit the Saudi economy,” said Nasser Al-Nasser, chief operating officer of STC.

He added: “Our new 5G network architecture will enable us to make the next leap forward by delivering inclusive broadband that transforms how people use technology in their daily lives. We look forward to working closely with Cisco to develop a future-ready network that delivers advanced capabilities to help us address increasing customer demands and new service trends.”

The transition to 5G was said to be fundamental to STC’s vision, as it focused on developments linked to smart cities and the “Internet of Things.” Virtualization and network automation would play a prominent role in STC’s strategic blueprint, creating the scaleable network that supports the creation of new services in the fastest and most agile way possible.

“As businesses increasingly digitize, mobile carriers will need the speed, low latency, reliability and dynamic provisioning capabilities that 5G networks are expected to deliver,” said Ali Amer, managing director, global service provider sales, Cisco Middle East and Africa. “Our collaboration with STC will enable their network infrastructure to evolve into the new era of digitization by taking advantage of the 5G momentum,” he added.

Another key element of the collaboration was to address the security needs of the 5G era “by building a framework for threat intelligence that underpins STC’s prevention, detection and mitigation efforts,” said the joint statement.

Separately, Samsung, Sony and Nokia have debuted new smartphones at the telecoms congress in the Catalonian capital in Spain. Forbes reported that the launch of these latest versions has come amid a drop in global smartphone sales last year. Forbes cited data from US research firm Gartner which showed worldwide sales of smartphones declined for the first time ever in the fourth quarter of 2017, dropping 5.6 percent compared to the previous year.


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