Batelco and Ericsson have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on next-generation 5G technologies and innovations in line with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s digital economy vision.
This latest MoU is part of Batelco’s efforts to enhance its network capabilities to achieve future goals for 5G technology, in addition to supporting development programmes for new use cases that highlight the potential of 5G for consumers and enterprises.
The MoU will cover collaboration on Voice over New Radio (NR) and advanced Charging System that will enhance Batelco’s real-time convergent charging as well as enable the introduction of new smart and innovative Internet of Things (IoT) products. It will also include cloud-native 5G Core and 5G Standalone (SA) solutions that helped Batelco and Ericsson successfully complete the first 5G SA data call in the Kingdom.
Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) will also be a key area of focus for Batelco and Ericsson as they enable extended coverage and longer battery lives for ultra-low complexity devices. Batelco’s and Ericsson’s exploration of NB-IoT will propel smart city visions with features such as smart metering, air quality monitoring, and building management seen having a significant impact on smart city development.
Commenting on the deal, Mikkel Vinter, Chief Executive Officer of Batelco said: “As part of our continuous support for Bahrain’s 2030 Vision, Batelco always offers the latest and best-in-class technologies to its customers. Presently, 5G in Bahrain is at the cusp of unlocking a wide-range of opportunities in line with Bahrain’s digital economy goals. In addition to the strong coverage that 5G from Ericsson provides, this MoU aims to explore ways to implement 5G technologies and reap the advanced benefits for different industries in Bahrain, through providing examples of innovative use cases. By providing technical support to major industries in the Kingdom, we look forward to contributing to the further prosperity of these industries.”
Through this collaboration, Batelco can strengthen its enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) capabilities and meet the rapid growth in data traffic that comes with automation and emerging Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) applications in the country. It will also aid Batelco in offering immersive media and cloud gaming experiences. The MoU is also set to lay the foundation for 5G millimetre wave (mmWave) introduction which, through its higher bandwidth, higher data rates and extended range capabilities, offers great potential for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), gaming, and industry applications.
Wojciech Bajda, Vice President and Head of Gulf Council Countries at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, added: “We look forward to working with Batelco and exploring 5G technologies that can unlock various growth opportunities for digital development. We are certain our collaboration will support Batelco in discovering new business models and in creating new and innovative offerings in the Kingdom. Moreover, as 5G adoption increases in the country, we remain committed to provide Batelco with necessary technical support to cater to the growing network complexity and ensuring that fast and reliable connectivity is accessible across the country.”
Ericsson partnered with Batelco in deploying the commercial non-standalone 5G network across Bahrain in 2019 and has since worked together to enhance 5G services in the country. With Ericsson’s 5G portfolio placing energy efficiency at the centre stage, the collaboration will also work towards reducing network power consumption and develop solutions for smart and sustainable 5G networks.