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STC Group deploys Nokia’s AI-powered operations system

Nokia has implemented customised AI-powered Cognitive SON solution making autonomous RAN operations a reality in STC’s commercial network.

STC Group has deployed an AI-powered operations system on its network for the first time, using Nokia’s MantaRay Self-Organising Network (SON). This AI-driven system automates network optimisation, enhancing connectivity and performance.

The MantaRay SON solution was first utilized on STC’s network infrastructure during the Hajj season, ensuring over 1m pilgrims stayed seamlessly connected. This marks Nokia’s inaugural deployment of the cognitive, AI-powered module on a live network. STC Group collaborated with Nokia to design an algorithm specifically for Hajj, enabling autonomous network optimisation every 15 minutes.

Nokia’s MantaRay SON is a major platform for network optimisation and automation, employing self-configuring AI modules to improve network performance and efficiency. These modules can be customised for specific applications to address unique operational challenges.

The customised AI-powered MantaRay SON system significantly enhanced STC’s network. Over 10,000 actions were processed during the live network implementation, resulting in a 30% increase in utilisation on loaded cells and a 10% average improvement in user throughput. Despite a 40% increase in traffic, STC’s network maintained consistent connectivity, reducing manual work and improving network quality. This success paves the way for the future of AI automation in telecommunications infrastructure.

Speaking on the success of the AI-powered network operations, STC Group’s Chief Technology Officer, Haithem Al Faraj, said: “STC and Nokia are pioneering a new era where Artificial Intelligence revolutionises the telecom industry. This technology not only minimises human error and improves quality but also allows networks to operate autonomously and efficiently, while humans remain essential in guiding and maximising the outcomes from machine learning.”

Mikko Lavanti, Head of MEA at Nokia, added: “Through our collaboration with STC Group, Nokia is transforming telecoms network infrastructure with the integration of Artificial Intelligence. Our MantaRay Cognitive SON solution, equipped with sophisticated AI algorithms, represents a quantum leap in network optimisation – a global first in its deployment by STC Group. This AI-driven innovation has redefined standards for network performance, ensuring robust and consistent service for customers even during peak usage periods.”

The development of the AI-powered network module expands STC’s suite of generative AI solutions. These AI-driven capabilities are driving digital transformation and sustainable growth, including energy efficiency programmes that resulted in a 13% reduction in energy consumption across STC’s 4G and 5G networks in 2023. By 2025, STC’s AI-powered products are expected to integrate across over 200 systems, saving the organization approximately SAR 2m annually.