Saturday, 13 June 2020

Kuwait Leading the way on 5G


Kuwait has a dynamic telecoms sector with a strong bias towards mobile infrastructure and services.

It has one of the world’s highest mobile penetration levels with 7 million mobile subscriptions in a country of just 4 million people, putting its mobile penetration levels at 168 per cent. With Kuwaiti’s being some of the heaviest consumers of data in the world, this shows the intense demand for capacity on the country’s mobile network infrastructure.

The telecoms sector has also become increasingly important to Kuwait’s economy as the country looks to diversify from its reliance on oil and this is particularly pertinent given the drop in oil prices as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak.In 2020 the operators have also demonstrated support during the COVID-19 pandemic through various service offerings and assistance.

There are three major operators of Zain Kuwait, STC (previously VIVA Kuwait) and Ooredoo offer LTE services as well as exploring 5G opportunities. On all operators 2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz; 3G is on 2100 MHz and 4G/LTE is mainly on 1800 MHz (Band 3) and 800 MHz (Band 20).

Kuwait is connected to 7 key international submarine cables. With mobile penetration at high levels, focus has shifted to the mobile data market. All 3 operators have upgraded networks to support faster downlink speeds and are increasingly focused on mobile content and applications.

5G services have become a key focus of the operators which all launched initial 5G networks in 2019. Huawei has formed various partnerships with some of the key operators to further develop 5G in Kuwait.



Zain in Kuwait is the Group's flagship operation, which was established in 1983 called MTC and became the first telecom operator to launch commercial GSM services in the region and now offers 4G/LTE too. It can still maintain the leading position what coverage, speed and subscribers is concerned.


Zain Kuwait has also deployed Enea’s network management solution to ensure that its subscribers do not suffer a degradation of service experience during particularly busty periods, such as long wait times and degraded video quality.They are using Enea Openwave Encrypted Video Manager, which enables transparent classification of encrypted video flows to balance picture and playback video quality in real time according to radio network conditions.


Ooredoo, rebranded from Watanya, and based in Qatar is the 2nd provider in Kuwait. It rivals with Zain and has an equally good coverage and speed in the country. Their innovative product offering enabled them to grow their customer base by 12 percent to 2.6 million at the end of 2019.

Ooredoo has already launched 5G services and devices including a 5G MiFi router in Kuwait in collaboration with Huawei, and said it is accelerating the deployment of more "5G-ready" network stations in Kuwait and Oman.

Ooredoo will leverage Huawei’s world-leading 5G SingleRAN radio solution with advanced Massive MIMO technology, and 5G Cloud Core solution with a convergent platform to achieve a full digital transformation and modernization of its existing mobile networks. The network upgrade will provide customers with the latest 5G technologies and services.



VIVA Kuwait rebranded as STC (Kuwait) is the 3rd operator in the country. STC stands for Saudi Telecom Company and this rebrand was done at the end of 2019 after the Saudis purchased a majority stake in the company.

STC has made switching from 4G to 5G internet packages easier by offering customers 5G service in addition to a 5G router for KD 5 monthly. Customers can stream their favorite shows, play games, surf the web and work remotely at high internet speeds, low latency and instantaneous connectivity using Kuwait’s largest 5G network.

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