Nokia, Zain KSA Carry Out Indoor 5G Trial In Saudi Arabia


BY Juan Pedro Tomás

Nokia recently announced that it has achieved a record 5G speed of 1.9 Gbps during a trial of its next-generation AirScale Indoor Radio System (ASiR) at the headquarters of mobile operator, Zain KSA in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Nokia noted that its dedicated indoor 5G solution delivers ultra-fast 5G speeds and also counters high penetration coverage losses.

The trial leveraged the Nokia 5G AirScale, which is an enhanced indoor solution with a centralized and scalable architecture. The trial’s high-speeds were achieved at 3.5 GHz including multi-band ASiR-pRRH and with E-UTRAN New Radio – Dual Connectivity (EN-DC).

Nokia also highlighted that its ASiR solution supports all major network technologies and is designed to easily upgrade from 4G to 5G NR with minimal on-site disruption.

The vendor said that the solution includes indoor small cells that deliver a consistent 5G user experience with high data rates across multiple floors, including open and partitioned office spaces, as well as meeting rooms. It also provides an enhanced SFN (Single Frequency Network) indoor solution addressing requirements such as low cost of ownership, small product form factor and comprehensive indoor coverage.

Zain KSA launched commercial 5G services in October 2019 in Saudi Arabia and now covers 50 cities across the kingdom enabled by more than 4,600 towers.

Zain KSA CTO, Abdul Rahman AlMufadda said: “In line with Zain KSA achieving a pioneering position in the regional and global telecoms map by rolling out the largest 5G network in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa and fourth largest in the world, it is imperative for us to provide first class coverage for both indoor and outdoor environments. Nokia deployed its 5G indoor solution quickly, with minimal disruption and achieved incredibly high-speeds during this trial.”

“We are delighted to support Zain by providing 5G indoor coverage at its premises in Jeddah. Indoor coverage is an important piece in the 5G puzzle due to high penetration losses, especially in high profile venues and locations,” said president of mobile networks at Nokia, Tommi Uitto.

Nokia said that its ASiR system supports 2G/3G technology via an optional ASiR-RFC (RF Converter). The ASiR system is 5G-ready and can evolve into a 4G+5G mixed network on the same platform via 5G radio insertion, the vendor added, noting that each of its ASiR-pRRH is a high-power (4x250mW) access point that is connected via a single Ethernet cable for both fronthaul and Power over Ethernet (PoE).

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