Saudi STC to phase out 3G to make way for 4G & 5G

Saudi Telecom Company aims to become a pioneer in 5G technology.

  
A man passes the Saudi Telecom STC office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 6, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose

A man passes the Saudi Telecom STC office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 6, 2018. Image used for illustrative purpose

REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Saudi Arabia - In order to address their future needs and offer a higher quality of service to its customers, the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is phasing out its legacy 3G network, making way for more advanced technologies such as 4G and 5G.

Khaled Al-Dharrab, infrastructure VP, STC, said: “STC took a bold and daring decision to phase out its legacy 3G network in order to focus investment on more modern and advanced technologies such as 4G and 5G technologies. This will ensure that STC customers continue to enjoy the best possible experience with the network, as part of a comprehensive digital transformation journey.

“STC is a technology pioneer in the region and at a global level, and therefore, this move will cement its leadership status in the Kingdom and it will remain a dynamic role model for the operators in the region. The 4G and 5G technologies will provide an incentive for economic growth — at both the individual and enterprise level, supporting the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

Al-Dharrab said the technological advancements made by STC will help in transforming the digital landscape of the country and will also confirm STC’s position as a “world-class digital leader providing innovative services and platforms to its customers and enabling digital transformation in the MENA region.”

The Saudi telecom giant has been at the forefront of technological innovation in the Kingdom. It has always invested in future technologies to ensure that it meets the growing needs of its customers. Over the last decade, wireless technology has changed dramatically and it has transformed the way people use telecom services and applications. Therefore, customers continue to demand faster speeds and increased data volumes, which resulted in a dramatic growth in data traffic.

Work on the “3G Sunset Program” has already started and is expected to be concluded in less than two years. These plans are helped by a declining number of customers still using 3G devices on the STC network. As part of this process, STC is committed to ensuring a smooth transition of all remaining 3G customers to 4G and 5G devices before the actual shutdown date in 2022.

The 3G freed spectrum will be reutilized for the new and more advanced technologies. STC has been directing investment in the 4G network over the last few years, delivering an enhanced 4G network, in terms of both coverage and quality. The company has the largest 4G customer base in the Kingdom.

STC also aims to become a pioneer in 5G technology. It has rolled out the 5G network in many parts of the Kingdom and will continue to expand its 5G footprint in the coming years. A number of 5G internet packages have been launched by the company, along with the introduction of compatible 5G devices (smartphones, routers, MiFi, etc.). The new and highly advanced 5G use cases are designed to benefit customers and industry verticals. The 5G service will offer the necessary high speed data, latency, security and reliability to support VoLTE voice services and cutting-edge “Industry 4.0” capabilities, incorporating advanced technologies such as AI, data analytics, IoT, and others.

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