“Zain”, “Etisalat”, “STC”, “Mobily” and “du” to support open radio access network technology in the Middle East


A fundamental change in the way operators manage networks and deliver services in the region’s markets
– Al-Gharabally: The partnership gives us the opportunity to focus on developing digital technologies and applications

Zain Telecom Group has entered into a joint cooperation with Etisalat Group, STC Group, Mobily, and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (Du), with the aim of accelerating the implementation of Open RAN solutions for telecommunications networks, and sharing their experiences in this field, and setting a clear path to drive innovation in the ICT sector in the Middle East.

The joint statement of this alliance revealed that the memorandum of understanding between the five operators confirms the commitment to spread open radio access network solutions across the markets of the members of this alliance, as it will provide an opportunity for providers of traditional radio access network (RAN) services to adopt open interfaces, programs and devices, to build more flexible networks for the fourth generation. Fifth, it will support new suppliers with innovative solutions, and it will reduce costs for radio access network deployments.

Zain representative and jury members

This partnership will provide tremendous opportunities for operators and the telecom system in general, with the availability of the open radio access network and its competitive products, with the possibility of commercial availability, and joint operation, and this initiative will contribute to building a common framework for the exchange of best practices and relevant technical results.

Customers will benefit from the use of advanced wireless telephone networks that meet the requirements of the local market and ensure the rapid availability of the latest services in these markets. The operators’ focus on developing software capabilities in the open radio access network will give the opportunity to activate the role of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI).

Nawaf Al-Gharabali, Chief Technology Officer of Zain Group, said that this initiative highlights the importance of joint cooperation between telecom network operators at the regional and international levels, and highlights common visions and goals in the areas of innovation, pointing out that it will bring many benefits to all parties and stakeholders. It will enhance the position of the telecommunications sector in the region on the global map of information and communication technology.

Al-Gharabally explained that this step comes within the framework of Zain’s commitment to the Middle East markets, expressing his pleasure to cooperate with a group of major telecom companies in the region within the framework of this project, noting that the goal is to provide high quality levels that serve customers’ trends, as this partnership will provide A joint effort in which best practices will be shared, and the opportunity to better focus on developing digital technologies and applications.

For his part, CEO of Technology and International Operations at Etisalat Group, Hatem Bamatraf, said that this alliance represents an exceptional opportunity for telecom operators in the Middle East to join hands, with the aim of developing open technology that will help enhance the resilience and efficiency of networks.

Bamatraf added, “We are excited about this partnership, which will enhance the protection and diversity of services in the fourth and fifth generation networks, based on open radio access network solutions. This partnership also reflects Etisalat’s commitment and leadership in integrating innovation in the communications and information technology sector, and its keenness to develop and adopt a network Open radio access to ensure the improvement of our customers’ experiences.

For his part, the Senior Vice President for Technology and Information Sector at stc, Haitham Al-Faraj, said: “We are committed to introducing the latest technologies and innovative solutions for the fourth and fifth generation networks, and this step marks a new era of cooperation between operators in the Middle East, in order to accelerate efforts to develop network technologies. The open platform, which helps diversify our strategic growth in the field of technology.”

He explained, “Our commitment has always been to provide the best-in-class mobile network to our customers who always deserve the best from us, and there is no doubt that this step is a milestone in the digital transformation journey undertaken by (stc), as it will always continue its quest to lead the digital transformation, in line with the vision of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2030.

In a related context, Mobily’s Chief Technology Officer, Alaa Maliki, affirmed the company’s keenness to strengthen this partnership, which keeps pace with the latest developments in the communications and information technology sector, in order to improve the services provided to customers, and build a radio access network more open than what exists today.

Maliki explained that the implementation of the open radio access network solutions supports the flexibility of the solutions and provides more innovation in managing the network and making it work more efficiently, stressing the readiness of Mobily to provide everything that would make this partnership successful, and to move forward with other partnerships that push the wheel. Development and innovation in the communications and information technology sector.

Salim Al Baloch, chief technology officer of du, said: “Promoting and advancing innovation across communication networks through the application and dissemination of the latest solutions and technologies such as Open Radio Access Network solutions is a shared responsibility of communication service operators in the region.”

Al Baloush stressed du’s commitment to working with leading companies in the region, with the aim of creating more value by enhancing the level of flexibility and efficiency of the communication network infrastructure, while working at the same time to accelerate the technological transformation of networks and expand their scope throughout the Emirates.

Reduce costs

Through the implementation of the Open Radio Access Network, the telecommunications sector seeks to achieve technical standards and specifications, which define the open interfaces within radio systems, including hardware and software.

Networks can be deployed and operated based on mix and match components from different suppliers, and operators will be able to take advantage of supplier innovations to reduce operational costs and provide services that are more flexible and responsive to evolving customer requirements.

With virtualization and automation, ORAN will be able to fundamentally change the way operators manage networks and deliver services, allowing operators to scale up or transfer capacity more quickly to end users, automatically solve network problems, and provide on-demand services to sector organizations.

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