Mobilk - During this week’s Mobile Broadband Forum currently taking place in London, Zain Kuwait, the leading telecommunications provider in Kuwait, in collaboration with technology partner Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, have announced plans to launch a commercial Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A) network in Kuwait.
The next-generation wireless broadband network will eventually deliver speeds of up to 300mbps - around twice the speed possible through most current LTE mobile networks. The rollout will see Zain Kuwait and Huawei activate over 100 LTE-A cell sites in the first phase, with Zain Kuwait indicating that the technology would later be made available across the nation as more sites become operational.
LTE-Advanced is predicted to become the mainstream in future wireless communications following the initial rollout of LTE services in many countries across the region. LTE-A expands and enhances the standard LTE platform, allowing flexible and effective spectrum utilization and simpler network architecture; empowering operators to provide better mobile services to its customers including high-performance applications and multimedia services such as video conferencing, high-definition content sharing, high-speed video downloads, and more.
“The deployment of this milestone commercial LTE-A network will jump start the next phase of mobile communications in the Middle East, providing mobile broadband customers across Kuwait an opportunity to enjoy unparalleled communication services,” said Omar Al Omar, CEO of Zain Kuwait. “The trend towards mobile computing—along with the proliferation of social & video applications—has led to an explosion in mobile data traffic, bringing unprecedented challenges to mobile broadband networks. We recognize LTE-A technology as the way forward as Zain looks to underpin future network capacity requirements and enhance our customers’ experience.”
Kuwait is experiencing high levels of market saturation in its telecom sector, with an estimated mobile penetration rate of nearly 215% according to Business Monitor International. Zain is currently a leader in the field of mobile broadband with a market share of around 39% in Kuwait with nearly 10% of its mobile customers having already migrated to 4G LTE technology. This number is expected to rise sharply in the coming months as more and more users are provided access to the opportunities offered by LTE-Advanced technology.
“New innovations in mobile broadband are increasingly shaping the future of Kuwait’s telecom market, and more importantly, these technologies are now seen as major enablers of continued economic and social development supporting the government’s vision for a knowledge economy,” said Mohamad Sharara, Head of Zain Account at Huawei. “Huawei is committed to extending our partnership with Zain to bring ground-breaking mobile broadband services to customers across the Middle East, and we will continue to focus our efforts on leveraging the transformative potential of ICT to drive development, productivity and growth in the countries we operate.”
The core technologies of the LTE-A platform that Huawei has deployed for Zain Kuwait include Carrier Aggregation (CA), which allows for full utilization of spectrum resources scattered in multiple frequency bands. Besides enabling high bandwidth, this ensures backwards compatibility with LTE, facilitating a smooth, seamless migration.
Last year Zain collaborated with Huawei to launch a commercial LTE network that delivers nationwide mobile coverage and is to date the country’s only nationwide LTE network. At the same time Zain partnered with Huawei to provide the public with diversified LTE smart devices including smartphones, routers, hotspot MiFi and dongles. Earlier this year Zain and Huawei also formalized an agreement to create a Joint Innovation Center in Kuwait to focus on LTE-based solutions for enterprises, machine-to-machine services and other service-based applications.
As a global leader in LTE technology innovation, Huawei invests heavily in LTE-related research and development to keep itself at the cutting edge of carrier technology. According to the GSAs Evolution to LTE report released in August 2013, 443 operators were investing in LTE and there were 200 commercial LTE networks in operation. Of these, Huawei won 196 commercial LTE network contracts and deployed 93 commercial LTE networks worldwide, accounting for 40% of awarded LTE network contracts; more than any other vendor globally.
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