Super-fast 5G mobile to launch in Saudi Arabia within months

Saudi Arabia has about 1,000 telecoms towers already supporting 5G and the super-fast mobile services will be available within months, a senior government official said. (AFP)
Updated 06 April 2019
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Super-fast 5G mobile to launch in Saudi Arabia within months

  • Next-generation networks will allow smartphone users to download a movie in seconds
  • Uptake of the technology expected to add $19 billion to Saudi Arabia GDP

DEAD SEA, Jordan: Saudi Arabia has about 1,000 telecoms towers already supporting 5G and the super-fast mobile services will be available within months, a senior government official said.
The next-generation networks will allow smartphone users to download a movie in seconds.
But the technology is more geared toward industry, said Haytham Al-Ohali, vice minister at Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications & Information Technology.
“We currently have around 1,000 towers up and running 5G,” Al-Ohali told Arab News at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.
“Our operators need to put the financial packages together — and having the handsets available, that would help.”
Al-Ohali said he hoped 5G will be launched in Saudi Arabia “either toward the end of Q2, or early Q3 this year.”
The uptake of the technology is expected to add $19 billion to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product, and 20,000 jobs, by 2030.
While 5G will be available to consumers, its real use is for technologies like driverless cars and in machine-to-machine communication, Al-Ohali said.
“Downloading a movie in four seconds is not the promise of 5G … 5G is the first network that’s not built for the consumer. It’s built for machines, it’s built for industry,” he said.
“I think (consumers) will love the extra speeds that 5G brings, but in a country where 4G is very robust like Saudi Arabia, and provides good speeds — currently Saudi Arabia is ranked ahead of the UK and Japan in terms of 4G speeds — I don’t think that increment is really worth the investment from the operators. What I think the promise is, is industry, machine-to-machine.”
The vice-minister said Saudi Arabia is in talks with industry groups over the prospect of 5G use for digitization within factories, and is also studying its use in health and education.
Nations globally are racing to develop 5G networks, an issue complicated by US concerns over the security of equipment produced by Chinese telecoms manufacturer Huawei.
Al-Ohali said that any company meeting security requirements was welcome to do business in the Kingdom.
“Like any other technology … in Saudi Arabia, there are certain security requirements. We welcome any vendor who complies to come and operate in Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Al-Ohali earlier addressed the World Economic Forum during a panel discussion with Rafiah Ibrahim, head of Ericsson in the Middle East and Africa.
“It is the fastest-growing region when it comes to Internet use,” Ibrahim said.


China bemoans US ‘bullying’ of Huawei

Updated 23 May 2019
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China bemoans US ‘bullying’ of Huawei

  • The trade spat between US and China escalated after President Donald Trump issued orders last week on grounds of national security
  • Trump’s move effectively bans US companies from supplying Huawei and affiliates with critical components

BEIJING: China’s foreign minister has slammed US moves against telecom giant Huawei as “economic bullying,” and warned that Beijing was ready to “fight to the very end” in its trade war with Washington.
The trade spat between the world’s top two economies escalated after President Donald Trump issued orders on grounds of national security last week that have prompted several foreign firms to distance themselves from Huawei.
“The US use of state power to arbitrarily exert pressure on a private Chinese company like Huawei is typical economic bullying,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Wednesday at a meeting in Kyrgyzstan of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security group led by Beijing and Moscow.
Trump’s move effectively bans US companies from supplying Huawei and affiliates with critical components over activities the US says are contrary its national security or foreign policy interests.
Japan’s Panasonic announced on Thursday that it was cutting back business with Huawei in light of the US ban. A day earlier, mobile carriers in Japan and Britain said they would postpone the release of Huawei smartphones.
“Some people in the United States do not want China to enjoy the legitimate right to develop, and seek to impede its development process,” Wang said, according to a foreign ministry statement issued late Wednesday.
“This extremely presumptuous and egocentric American approach is not able to gain the approval and support of the international community.”
The two countries have yet to set a date to recommence trade negotiations after they resumed their tariffs battle earlier this month, with Trump raising punitive duties on $200 billion in Chinese goods and Beijing hiking those on $60 billion in American products.
Trump has accused China of reneging on its commitments in the trade negotiations. Beijing has countered that any deal needs to be balanced.
“It is impossible for us to sign or recognize an agreement that is unequal,” Wang said.
“If the United States is willing to negotiate on an equal footing, then on the Chinese side, the door is wide open. But if the United States opts for a policy of maximum pressure, then China will take them on and fight to the end,” he said.