07/03/2018 05:35 AST

Ericsson has been chosen by Saudi Telecom Company (STC) Group for a major nationwide expansion of its 4G network in Saudi Arabia, including the deployment of LTE Advanced and Narrow Band-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) in radio access network.

The deal spearheads STC's drive to revolutionise mobile broadband-driven data experiences for its subscribers and open up new enterprise opportunities in IoT, while laying the groundwork for evolution to 5G, said a statement.

The LTE Advanced expansion, which got underway in December 2017, includes the deployment of Ericsson's 5G-ready baseband hardware in the network, it said.

LTE Advanced will be deployed in a new 700MHz band spectrum acquired by STC. It will increase STC network throughput in 4G/LTE by up to 50 per cent for smartphones, it added.

In addition to the data-driven content access speed delivered by LTE Advanced, subscribers will benefit from extended coverage, much longer battery life, and low-cost devices enabled by the new cellular IoT technology, NB-IoT.

The digital transformation also sees STC deploying Narrow Band-IoT (NB-IoT) in RAN across its expanded network to drive and support enterprise IoT Ecosystem innovation and business opportunities. This includes Massive IoT applications for smart city purposes, such as metering, parking sensors, and connected cars.

STC recently renewed and upgraded its managed services contract with Ericsson. In addition to existing network planning and optimisation, network operations and telecom field services, the contract now includes field services efficiency, as well as first and second line support.

Nasser Al Nasser, group CEO, STC, said: “Our main goal is to ensure that the country's Saudi Vision 2030 ambitions are met. We do that by always making sure we offer our subscribers the latest innovative technologies.”

“LTE Advanced and NB-IoT are exactly what we need to pave the way to 5G,” he said. Rafiah Ibrahim, head of market area Middle East and Africa (MEA), Ericsson, said: “By making digital transformation real and effective for STC through 4G expansion, we will enable their customers to enjoy enriched experiences, whether that means lightning speed video and media access for subscribers, or IoT business innovation and opportunities for enterprises.”

“Our partnership with STC shows 4G network evolution is already happening and paving the way for 5G,” Ibrahim added.

STC has already deployed multiple 4G layers across various frequencies (LTE 1800, LTE 2300, and LTE 2100), it stated. –


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