Zain Bahrain signs up Ericsson for 5G

Zain Bahrain has selected Ericsson to build its 5G network in the kingdom, with the first commercial 5G services expected to go live before the end of 2019. Spanning Ericsson 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) and 5G Core products and solutions, the contract will see Zain Bahrain’s network modernized from LTE to 5G.


Shaikh Ahmed, Zain Bahrain Chairman and
Börje Ekholm, CEO of Ericsson, signing the 5G agreement

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Securing “The World’s Greatest Show”

I was recently visiting London and came away surprised by just how far the awareness-raising campaign for Expo 2020 has broken through internationally. Billboards and prime-time television commercial spots communicated the virtues of the upcoming “world’s greatest show,” which at fewer than 50 weeks away, is fast becoming a reality.  

EY forecasts Expo will boost the UAE’s economy by AED 122.6 billion (US$ 33.4 billion) and support 905,200 job-years between 2013 and 2031

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October marks a significant watershed for commercial 5G deployments

The month of October was a massive one for commercial 5G deployments globally, commencing with the 20-city network launched by Zain in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the month, and ending with China’s three main service providers – China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom – announcing the commercial availability of 5G services in parts of 50 cities across the country. The operators claim the launch is the largest 5G rollout in the world to-date, coming just six months after the government issued concessions.

China is forecast to have 36 per cent of its mobile customer base on 5G by 2025

Combined, the three cellcos deployed approximately 86,000 5G base stations and expect to have more than 130,000 in place by year-end. Market leader China Mobile aims to install 50,000 sites by end-December, while China Unicom and China Telecom have each targeted about 40,000.

GSMA Intelligence forecasts that China will have 36 per cent of its mobile customer base on 5G by 2025. Because of its huge population this translates to 600 million subscribers – roughly 40 per cent of the entire global 5G market at that time.

Faisal Al Bannai leads newly unveiled national defence entity, EDGE

Following media reports last month that Faisal Al Bannai, Founder and former Managing Director of UAE cyber security firm DarkMatter, was looking to exit the business altogether by year-end, last week he made his first public appearance as CEO and Managing Director of a newly created national defence technology-focused conglomerate called EDGE.

The different entities under EDGE combined employ 12,000 staff and generate annual revenues of approximately US$ 5 billion.

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Changing cyber security landscape in the ME points to maturity

The cyber security industry in the Middle East is showing signs of maturing, should the recent in-region developments be an indicator of the evolution and transformation of the way business is being conducted and by whom in this part of the world. In the latest indication of a changing landscape, media reports in the UAE point to Faisal Al Bannai, Founder and Managing Director of UAE-based cyber security firm DarkMatter Group, planning on divesting his entire stake in the company by the end of the year.

In September, Etisalat announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire full ownership of Help AG’s businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The telco said the acquisition is part of its plans to diversify operations

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