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Zain KSA celebrates one year of 5G rollout

Monday 5 October 2020

World-acclaimed high performance & regional headship


It has been a year since Zain KSA launched its 5G network in the Kingdom. Throughout this time, the company has been constantly updating, developing and expanding its network, so much to make the Zain KSA brand synonymous with the fifth generation and the best performing network regionally and globally. The choice to continue to modernize and innovate which the young company has adopted was reflected in the user experience it provides to its customers. The company stood out as it delivered the best user experience in terms of geographic coverage, virtual conferencing applications, and online gaming. All this was complemented by the company's transition into full profitability and its recording of the highest profits and operational results in its history. So, what is it that makes Zain KSA’s 5G journey a success story?

Superfast Achievements

When Zain KSA unveiled its 5G network, it had a clear plan on how to extend this service to all regions of the Kingdom with the same quality and efficiency. It started with 20 cities initially through 2000 towers, and within just 12 months executed an integrated expansion of its network to cover 47 cities serviced by more than 4000 towers. The company continues to expand its 5G network across new cities, and implement upgrades in the cities previously covered, by updating coverage maps on a weekly basis on its website.

In parallel, Zain KSA was keen to pair its geographic expansion with enhanced service quality through integrating carrier aggregation into its 5G network. With this exclusive initiative, the company became the world’s first telecom operator to offer its customers this feature, which enables superfast Internet speeds of up to 2.4 Gbps, providing a transformed experience in using the Internet of Things functionalities, online gaming, and doing business remotely.

Faithful to its national responsibility, Zain KSA has sought to put its 5G network in the service of the Kingdom’s digital transformation roadmap, raising the bar of innovation for a more advanced future through an integrated knowledge-based society and economy that possesses the latest technologies and services outlined by Saudi Vision 2030. Zain KSA has been a major partner in making 5G services available at many central facilities and during national events, including launching the 5G network at Neom Bay Airport, and delivering a pioneering pilgrimage experience in the 2019 Hajj season by covering the main areas in Makkah and the holy sites. 5G services were also made available during the ceremony for launching the tourist visa in the Kingdom and in covering Al-Jouf University as well. Additionally, the company sponsored many events such as the Diriyah season 2019 and the PUBG championship.

 Fastest in KSA and beyond

Throughout the past 12 months, prominent telecommunications and IT stakeholders in the Kingdom have been closely watching Zain KSA and monitoring the significant improvements it has achieved and the quality investments it is injecting in this vital sector. Zain KSA’s efforts quickly yielded remarkable results in the reports of some of these observers, for covering all the kingdom’s administrative regions with 5G, ranking first in 12 of the 13 administrative regions, as per the Meqyas report issued by the Communications and Information Technology Commission. The company also topped the list of telecom companies in the latency category of the highest traffic games in the Kingdom, ranking first in 4 out of 5 games measured by the report, including: Fortnite, FIFA20, APEX, and League Legends. In terms of latency for the peak video conferencing apps in the Kingdom, Zain KSA maintained the fastest service in the Zoom and Microsoft Teams apps.

These notable results have resonated globally as Zain KSA’s high-performing 5G network gained further international recognition. Ookla, the global company behind the famous Speedtest website for measuring internet speeds worldwide, awarded Zain KSA the "Fastest Fixed Network Speed in the Kingdom" award. The company’s efforts to expand and upgrade its network, and its substantial investments in its infrastructure to that end were instrumental in its attaining of this accolade. This global acclamation of Zain’s accomplishments was trailed by numerous other prestigious awards, the most prominent of which being the Best Infrastructure Deployment award during the Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit 2019, and the Best Middle East Operator of the Year accolade for 2019 by reputed regional telecom publication CommsMEA.

A rising digital star

The unique and brisk achievements Zain KSA scored within a record period have caught the attention of global media and ICT research specialists. Global media, technology and telecoms consulting and research firm "Analysys Mason" described Zain KSA as a “trailblazer” in providing fixed wireless access (FWA) for the (5G) network service in the Kingdom. It praised the company’s 5G service demonstrated by its technical capabilities in developing retail offerings backed by high-performance customer hardware and fast and accurate service delivery. The report, which covers more than 110 countries around the world, indicated that Zain KSA was able to offset the costs of launching its 5G network by developing a new revenue source using 5G fixed wireless access. This rapid progress, in turn, has enabled Zain to better build its subscriber base, while also starting to realize revenues from the deployment of 5G networks.

Through its successful 5G rollout, Zain KSA has also contributed to supporting Saudi Arabia’s digital transformation and enhancing its global competitiveness in the ICT sector. In OpenSignal’s rating, Saudi Arabia ranked first in the 5G download speed, with 144.5 Mbps, followed by Canada and South Korea.

Obviously, what Zain KSA achieved within a year is no coincidence, but is rather the outcome of the efforts of planning, ingenious investment, research and development, and innovation. These features have always defined Zain KSA’s pathway whether in its services and products, or in its national and social responsibility. Behind these accomplishments stand young Saudi women and men, with their excellent competencies and high spirits inspired by the leadership of this blessed nation. The sky is their limit as they march forward with unwavering resolve to embrace dreams and transform them into a brilliant reality.