STC expands 4G services

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has expanded its 4G network using TD LTE technology from Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to upgrade its GSM and 3G infrastructure.

The operator faces fierce competition from rival, Mobily, with both companies initiating almost simultaneous LTE launches in September 2011.

NSN is one of several vendors to be selected by STC for the roll-out of 4G technology and will build one third of the network. Other vendors involved in the roll-out include Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson.

“STC is our long-standing partner and we are delighted to bring 4G services to its subscribers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our expertise in 4G technology and strong services support helped STC deliver on its plans to modernise its nationwide network and roll-out 4G services faster,” said Bernard Najm, Saudi Arabia country head at NSN.

NSN will provide 4G infrastructure across 2,500 STC sites over the next two years, including its FlexiPacket Microwave transport medium for STC’s GSM, 3G and 4G networks.

As part of the deal, NSN will also upgrade STC’s NetAct network management system, to improve monitoring and management of network operations.

Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest mobile population rates at 221.3% with an estimated 57.76 million mobile subscribers. STC holds the highest mobile market share at 44.6%, with rivals Mobily at 36.9% and Zain at 18.2%.

STC plans to cover 65% of Saudi Arabia with its LTE network by the end of 2012, and 95% by the end of 2014.