stc Group

Huawei-supplied stc wins 5G contract for Saudi mega-city

29 July 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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Saudi Telecom Company (stc) has been appointed to deliver an “advanced 5G and IoT network” to support the development of NEOM, a new mega-city being developed in Saudi Arabia.

As part of the work, stc Group has been contracted to establish a wireless 5G network within a year – inclusive of all infrastructure – and develop an innovation centre in NEOM to explore new 5G opportunities.

In a joint statement, stc and NEOM said 5G in the city “will enable numerous segments such as IoT, data analytics, virtual reality, augmented reality, smart homes, and autonomous vehicles”.

Further solutions will focus on robotics, AI and human machine interface technologies. Leveraging such technology will “open up the enormous potential of NEOM as a new economic driver across a range of industry sectors for the Kingdom,” a statement read.

stc will also provide the public safety network for NEOM security services.

CEO of stc Group, Nasser bin Sulaiman Al Nasser, said: “This agreement reflects stc’s commitment to enabling digital transformation and providing digital solutions across the Kingdom. We are proud to have been chosen to build the infrastructure for the 5G network and an innovation centre in NEOM - the land of the future and a model for sustainability, innovation, development, and prosperity.

“This agreement comes in line with stc’s vision as a digital enabler to develop infrastructure and provide the latest technologies that will enrich the experience of societies and foster innovation, which in turn will contribute to improve the customer experience and moving the digital transformation forward,” he added.

Last year, stc announced a multi-vendor integration (MVI), intended to “pave the way for STC to lead a diverse 5G deployment through joint innovation”. As such, Huawei and Cisco were named as core infrastructure suppliers with Ericsson and Nokia appointed to supply 5G Radio Networks.

Earlier this year, stc Bahrain announced it had appointed Huawei to equip its 5G network, the largest in the country.

However, due to the changing attitudes towards Huawei 5G equipment, the firm’s presence in this new project could cause issues for NEOM, the city designed to be home to “more than a million residents from around the world”.

Part of NEOM’s success will hinge on its ability to attract business tenants from major global economies – such as the US and UK – and the presence of Huawei in its 5G networks could impact this.

Commenting on the agreement, NEOM CEO Nadhmi Al Nasr said: “We are glad to form this partnership with a leading national digital enabler such as stc to support our ambition and goal to be an accelerator of human progress and to create the world’s leading digitally sustainable, cognitive cities.

“NEOM’s infrastructure will utilise AI, robotics, and human-machine fusion to deliver greater predictive intelligence and enable faster decision making across all NEOM sectors. The procurement and deployment of a future-proof wireless network is a critical first for NEOM in realising our goal of driving innovation in the future digital economy,” he added.