Nokia doubles down on investment-happy Saudi Arabia

Nokia has concluded a productive trip to the Middle East with a couple of freshly-signed memoranda of understanding, inevitably covering 5G and IoT.

Just as we were reflecting on Nokia’s prodigious rate of press release production prior to MWC it hit us with three in one day, less than a week after the event has finished. Two of them cover that most fertile of press release ground, the memorandum of understanding, or MoU for short.

Both Zain Saudi Arabia and STC (Saudi Telecom Company) love a bit of 5G and IoT, it seems, and they’ve decided Nokia is the company to help them fulfil their telecoms fantasies. The Zain MoU was signed at MWC, with STC apparently following soon after. And if you don’t believe them they took photos and everything so it must’ve happened so you can shut up, alright?

Nokia Zain MoU

Nokia and Zain

Nokia STC MoU

Nokia and STC

Here are the least generic of the canned quotes. “Working with our partner Nokia, we aim to provide the next generation ultra-broadband services,” said Eng. Sultan Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, CTO at Zain Saudi Arabia. “This agreement will take us closer to providing commercial 5G network in the Saudi market by introducing 4.5G Pro and 4.9G technologies to Zain’s network during the course of 2017.”

“Our mission is to enrich our society by introducing pioneering services to the people in the Kingdom, and we are proud to enter into this MoU with our long-term partner Nokia to achieve this mission,” said Nasser Al-Nasser of STC. “We aim to bring the first commercial 5G network to the gulf region, and we are confident that Nokia’s innovations toward the development of 5G technologies and IoT use cases, and their trials around the world, will provide a clear path for this.”

Saudi Arabia has a grand plan to not only be a technology leader within the region, but to also be a hub connecting Europe, Africa and Asia, thanks to its geographical positioning in the middle of the three continents. This is part of an even broader vision entitled Vision 2030, which revolves around a lot of long-term investment by the cash-rich kingdom, so this looks like a good couple of wins for Nokia.

Elsewhere Nokia scored a five-year managed services contract with VimpelCom to take care of most of Vimpelcom’s fixed and mobile networks in Russia. Execs from both companies said what a great moment it is for both of them and how this proves how well they’re doing but we’ll spare you the details.

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