Mobily, the Saudi telecom operator has joined forces with Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) to show 5G capabilities in a demo held at the Mall of Arabia in Jeddah, in the western region of Saudi Arabia.
Ericsson supplied a standalone end-to-end 5G system including a prototype 3.5GHz radio, baseband and prototype UE device to support Mobily's 5G demo. During the event, Mobily and Ericsson showcased 5G throughput, targeting speeds up to 1Gbps.
The demo is part of Mobily's plan to highlight the benefits that 5G will bring for both consumers and industries across Saudi Arabia. On the consumer front, 5G will deliver high data speeds and low latency, which will enhance the user experience for Mobily customers. In addition to this, 5G is one of the primary enablers for new and emerging use cases in industries such as autonomous fleet management, robotics and critical machine-to-machine communication in healthcare.
"We are wholly supportive of Saudi Vision 2030 and the push towards enhancing our digital economy. Our investment in 5G is demonstrative of our commitment to improving network performance and enhancing the customer experience across Saudi Arabia. Our partnership with Ericsson enables us to provide a state-of-the art scalable network to serve consumers and industries across Saudi Arabia now and in the 5G future," commented Mobily CTO Mazid Al Harbi.
Globally, the first commercial 5G networks and devices based on the 3GPP standards are expected in 2018, and regional operators are pushing to meet this timeline. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2018 edition, first-generation, 5G data-only devices are expected from the second half of 2018. The first commercial smartphones supporting 5G in the mid-bands are expected early next year, while support for very high spectrum bands is expected in early to mid-2019. Ericsson estimates the number of 5G subscriptions will reach one billion by the end of 2023.
Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: "For our long-term partner Mobily, 5G unlocks the potential for new and better customer experience while improving revenue streams. We look forward to achieving this together today and in the future."
Ericsson's 5G platform across radio, core and transport networks enables operators to evolve to 5G capabilities at a speed that matches their own business strategy. This transition takes place while also enhancing current 4G business by reducing risk and making best use of current infrastructure.
Ericsson's network technology enables evolution to full 5G deployment through natural, step-wise implementation – one that balances investment, new revenue streams and competitiveness.
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