out of 5G will also accelerate the development of wider communications
infrastructure in Qatar, according to Ali Ahmed al-Kuwari, CEO,
Qatar-based satellite services operator Es’hailSat.
deployment of 5G will increase pressure on satellite service providers,
it will also create a stronger operational environment, one in which
terrestrial and satellite providers offer complementary services,”
al-Kuwari told OBG.
“Satellites, for instance, will continue to
comprise a critical piece of disaster management systems, in addition to
providing connectivity in areas that are unreachable for fibre optic
Qatar has taken an early lead in the roll out of 5G mobile
services, with the country’s two operators, Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar,
both launching their next generation networks in recent months.
run initial test services in May, Ooredoo announced at the end of July
that it had successfully launched 5G services at 50 network stations
across the country, making it the first company in the world to roll out
a commercially available 5G network.
On August 26, Vodafone Qatar
switched on its own 5G service, with its first enterprise customer,
submarine cable provider Gulf Bridge International, connected two days
later at the Qatar Science and Technology Park.
The competing 5G
services offer rapid connectivity, with download speeds in excess of
1GBps, and ultra-low latency, meaning very short delays for data
Consequently, subscribers should notice improved
performance in functions such as voice over internet protocol, streaming
services, content downloads and online gaming.
The launch of 5G
services should also open doors for those local ICT players able to take
advantage of expanded bandwidth capacities to develop new applications
and advanced programming.
One area likely to benefit significantly
from higher mobile network speeds is Qatar’s burgeoning Internet of
Things (IoT) segment, which requires high speeds of data transmission to
facilitate the introduction of IoT applications, such as driverless
vehicles, smart transport technology and augmented reality.
announced in March that it was partnering with Germany-based Software AG
to use the latter’s Cumolcity IoT platform to provide its business
customers with IoT solutions, and, following the launch of Ooredoo’s 5G
network its chief operating officer, Yousuf Abdullah al-Kubaisi, said
the firm expected significant potential for IoT applications in the
transport, retail, energy, healthcare, education and entertainment
“Demand for Internet capacity is forecast to grow rapidly in
the coming years from both enterprises and individuals. Local capacity
requirements will increase as a major component of Qatar’s Vision 2030
is focused on raising the country’s digital capabilities,” Abdulla
al-Rwaili, managing director and executive vice-chairman at Gulf Bridge
International, told OBG, “This demand will come from a range of sectors
including education, transport, hydrocarbons and government services.”
spending on ICT is expected to continue, particularly in developing
integrated e-government services, which will also help boost the
country’s digital capabilities.
“Despite the ongoing blockade there
have been no cuts to government spending on the ICT sector –
particularly on developing the country’s e-government capacity and the
digital transformation of Qatar’s economy,” Yousef al-Naama, managing
director of IT services firm Malomatia, told OBG.
investments in infrastructure and supportive technologies are already
paying dividends in Qatar, which ranked first for its mobile internet
provision in the July 2018 edition of the Speedtest Global Index, a
monthly survey undertaken by the network tester Ookla.
Qatari users’ mobile download speeds averaged 62.63 Mbps, almost three times the international average of 22.81 Mbps.
while its rank of 52nd in fixed-line download speeds indicates that
there is ground to be made up in that regard, the development of 5G
capacity is expected to hasten the shift towards mobile usage and,
correspondingly, further erode the significance of fixed-line access.
the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure has matured,
opportunities for ancillary IT services such as cybersecurity have seen
“With the growing cyber threat, the need for
secure telecom networks is increasing along with ancillary IT services
such as cyber security. Customers are aware of these threats,
particularly the government entities, and are demanding the service
providers to secure their networks,” Ahmed Salman Ali al-Sulaiti, CEO of
state-owned ICT infrastructure provider Qatar National Broadband
Network, told OBG.
“Residual resistance to market changes has
dwindled,” he said. “The market now knows exactly what it needs to
protect its information, and we expect this to strengthen demand for
private and special networks for secure data servers.”