Ooredoo strikes five-year strategic deal with Nokia
Following a meeting between top execs from Ooredoo Group and Nokia at the operator's headquarters in Doha, Qatar, the two companies signed two agreements as part of an extended strategic partnership.
The first is a new Group Framework Supply Agreement (GFSA) whereby Nokia will deploy RAN, core and transport equipment, as well as provide technical support for various digital services, across the group's ten operating companies in the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia.
The new GFSA, valid for five years, includes rollout of Nokia's AirScale radio platform on sites across North Africa and Southeast Asia. AirScale offers 5G services to consumers and enterprises across different spectrum bands.
Aside from AirScale, Nokia said it will provide cloud-native core software "to give Ooredoo zero-touch automation capabilities that will drive greater scale and reliability."
The Finnish vendor also claimed it will provide the necessary tools to enable the operator to introduce network slicing. Nokia is also providing optical networking and microwave transport (capable of supporting 5G) as part of the GFSA.
The second agreement struck between Ooredoo and Nokia comes in the shape of an "amendment" to an existing GFSA for devices, allowing the group's operating companies to access Nokia's latest CPE devices portfolio. This includes Nokia's FastMile 5G devices for smart home and consumer IoT deployments.
Ooredoo said the "potential length" of this agreement will be three years and will initially include operating companies in Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Tunisia, the Maldives and Iraq.
Ericsson, Huawei also in Ooredoo mix
Nokia is not the only 5G game in town for Ooredoo of course. Early this year, Ericsson signed a five-year RAN agreement with Ooredoo covering all ten of its operating companies (though Ericsson RAN gear is already used by several of these companies).
In Qatar, which is preparing to host a number of global sporting events (not least the soccer World Cup in 2022), Ericsson is deploying 5G midband Massive MIMO radios to help meet the needs of sports fans in stadiums, at home or in transit.
In March last year, Ooredoo decided to source 5G technology from Huawei in both radio access and core networks in five of its ten markets – Kuwait, Oman, Indonesia, Tunisia and the Maldives – until 2025.
— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading