Both Vodafone and Ooredoo obtained frequencies in the 3.5-3.8 GHz band to support 5G services
Qatar has approved amendments to network rollout and coverage obligations in the licenses of Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar.
The amendments adopt unified obligations for both carriers in regard to 2G, 3G and 4G networks. In addition, Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) said it has issued 5G spectrum licenses to both companies.
The CRA has initially assigned to each company 100 megahertz within the 3.5 – 3.8 GHz frequency band for the commercial deployment of 5G services.
Under the radio spectrum licenses, Vodafone and Ooredoo will commit to roll out 5G networks before the end of 2020 in all densely populated areas, all primary roads and highways, as well as all venues associated with the FIFA 2022 World Cup, including stadiums and fan zones.
“Unifying the obligations of telecommunications companies for the 2G, 3G, and 4G networks is a very important step towards the development of a sustainable and fair competition in the telecom market in Qatar,” said Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti in a statement. “This will benefit the sector and consumers at the same time as the companies are keen to provide competitive, innovative, and high quality services, and that will contribute to the development of the Information and Communications (ICT) sector in the state of Qatar,” al-Sulaiti added.
“The CRA was keen to facilitate the introduction of 5G technology to the state of Qatar, and to assign the necessary frequencies to telecommunications companies in Qatar. Qatar will be one of the first countries in the world to launch 5G commercial services, which undoubtedly will contribute to the achievement of Qatar National Vision 2030 goals by ensuring the sustainable development of the ICT sector, “ said CRA President Mohamed Ali al-Mannai.
In August, Vodafone Qatar announced the activation of its 5G network in the country, to enable a wide range of new applications including remote healthcare and driverless cars.
Following the 5G launch, the company announced the connection of its first enterprise customer — Gulf Bridge International — to its 5G network in Qatar Science and Technology Park. Vodafone also said that 5G connectivity using its customer premise equipment, which is manufactured on a very limited scale worldwide, is available where Vodafone Qatar’s 5G network is deployed.
In May, Middle East telecom group Ooredoo announced the launch of what it claimed was first the world’s first live 5G network on the 3.5 GHz spectrum band. In the initial phase, Ooredoo said its 5G Supernet deployment would cover an area from The Pearl Qatar to Hamad International Airport, with Lagoona, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay, the Corniche and Souq Waqif also included in the initial commercial launch coverage area. The company has previously said that it will continue its 5G rollout and that the rollout will support smart cities and smart stadium projects in Qatar.
In December 2017, Ooredoo Qatar launched a 5G service experience for selected customers in the capital city of Doha. The 5G service allowed customers to have access to a high-speed, low-latency network with initial speeds of up to 1 Gbps.