Wednesday 24 August 2022

Qatar Continues its Regional 5G Leadership

Qatar is considered one of the regional leaders in terms of its telecoms maturity; having one of the highest fixed and mobile penetrations in the Middle East region. Qatar has also become one of the more progressive countries globally in terms of its progress towards 5G.

Due to its mature telecom sector Qatar has been able to absorb the additional data demands made on it during the pandemic. Mobile services based on LTE are universally available, and this has helped the two operators Ooredoo Qatar and Vodafone Qatar to migrate to 5G. In combination with a strong fibre rollout, the country is aiming to provide gigabit services nationally.

A desire to rapidly transition their customer bases to 5G has boosted 5G Availability in the market, and has helped Qatar climb to second place in Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index™ as of July 2022.

5G services are largely based on 3.5GHz spectrum made available following an auction in early 2019.

In Opensignal's latest Qatar Mobile Network Experience report  both the 5G experience and the overall experience together are analyzed for the first time in one report. Also, two new awards were added that quantify the consistency of the experience on both Qatar's national operators.

Ooredoo leads across most mobile experience categories in Qatar based on Opensignal’s awards table as it wins eight awards outright — four awards in the Overall Experience section, 5G Download Speed, 5G Availability as well as both Consistent Quality awards — compared to Vodafone’s sole outright win in 5G Voice App Experience. The two Qatari operators share the remaining five awards, including 5G Video Experience and 5G Games Experience.

Qatar’s mobile operators continue to explore innovative 5G solutions to improve the mobile experience of their users. In December 2021, Vodafone trialed its mmWave spectrum-based 5G network services with the aim of unlocking new functionality for consumers and businesses, while Ooredoo in March 2022 announced the successful implementation of a ‘world first’ 5G Indoor shareable solution using Ericsson’s kit aimed at enhancing the immersive experiences at stadiums and venues.


Ooredoo (Arabic أريدو), formely Qtel, is the market leader in Qatar with more than 2/3 of all customers in the country. It has the best coverage and speeds in the country.

Ooredoo Qatar and Ericsson have announced the successful implementation of a ‘world first’ 5G Indoor shareable solution, achieving data speeds of 1.5Gbps. The Ericsson Indoor Connect 8855 solution, part of the Ericsson Radio Dot System, has been commercially deployed in stadiums across Qatar ‘to enhance the immersive experiences of international tournaments’. The multi-operator, multi-vendor solution has full band support and 4×4 MIMO capability, enabling several communications service providers to deliver indoor 5G experiences to their subscribers with beyond-gigabit speeds. Ooredoo is an official service provider for the upcoming FIFA men’s football World Cup in Qatar in November-December 2022.

Vodafone is the no.2 in Qatar, but as long as you stay mainly in centers, it's the slightly cheaper alternative. 4G/LTE is available in Doha, Pearl and West Bay. In 2018 Vodafone sold its Qatari branch to its joint venture partner Vodafone & Qatar Foundation. The now Qatari operator has the approval to stick to the Vodafone brand for at least 5 more years.

Ookla reported that Vodafone Qatar’s resurgence as a stronger competitor to market leader Ooredoo Qatar has taken place at a key juncture for the Qatari market — the arrival of 5G. Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) amended the mobile licenses held by Vodafone Qatar and Ooredoo Qatar in early 2019. The new licenses included harmonized terms and conditions for both companies, authorizing each to utilize 100 MHz of C-band spectrum (3.5 GHz) and committed them to roll out commercial 5G networks before the end of 2020 in all densely populated areas. It also required they provide coverage of all primary roads and highways as well as all venues associated with the up-coming FIFA World Cup. This was updated in May 2022 to plan the allocation to both operators of additional spectrum in the C-band as well as high frequency (26 GHz) spectrum by 2023, while their license obligations require their 5G networks to cover 99% of Qatar with minimum download speeds of 100 Mbps by 2024.

Vodafone Qatar announced in August 2019 that ‘all Vodafone SIM cards are now 5G-ready’. All Vodafone customers, on any of its prepaid or postpaid mobile plans, have the chance to access 5G mobile connectivity with a compatible device. Currently, two compatible smartphones are available in Vodafone stores, namely the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G and Xiaomi Mi 5G. The operator’s 5G network is live in dozens of residential locations across Qatar including Al Waab, Abu Hamour, Al Azizya, Al Mamoura, Al Rayyan, Umm Salal Muhammed, Khartiyat, Al Hilal, Muntazah, Muraykh and Al Sadd.

Vodafone Qatar has claimed the country’s ‘first successful trial of mmWave spectrum-based 5G network services, displaying peak data speed capabilities of 8.1Gbps (downlink)/734Mbps (uplink), with the aim of unlocking new functionality for consumers and businesses, in areas including mobile broadband, fixed wireless and industrial applications such as IoT and Augmented Reality (AR). CEO Hamad Bin Abdulla Al-Thani said: 
‘The potential of mmWave technology industries and use cases is huge, and it will pave the way for the future of 5G and connectivity. The results of this trial will enable Vodafone Qatar to continue working to roll out mmWave technology for the benefits of its consumer and business customers alike. Looking ahead, one of the most exciting prospects for mmWave is the facilitation of 360 degree streaming of 8K videos around major sporting or entertainment events … We’re always working to make our GigaNet network bigger, faster and stronger than ever before for the benefit of our customers, and mmWave is an important part of this evolution.'

Related Posts:

No comments:

Post a Comment