Ooredoo conducted 5G trials in Qatar, which it said mark a first for a country in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) area.

In a statement, the operator said it held tests at its 5G laboratory, in partnership with Nokia and Huawei, and achieved speeds of up to 35.46Gb/s – which would be “the fastest mobile data service in the world today”.

It said the trials provide “the first regional example” of the potential for 5G technology.

The demonstrations will also be used to contribute to international agreements and standards to enable the launch of 5G services, equipment and devices.

Ooredoo noted that despite the feat, commercial 5G services are “still some time away”.

5G is expected to become widespread from 2020, a widely touted timeframe in the industry, but operators across Asia, North America and Europe in particular have talked up ambitions to be first.

Ooredoo suggested its recent trial could also put it in the mix.

“By achieving this technological breakthrough, Ooredoo is positioning itself in the top quadrant of data operators in terms of network quality and potential.”

Hype in the Middle East is indeed growing. Earlier this year major vendors Nokia, Huawei and Qualcomm revealed ambitions to push the region to the global stage for the launch of 5G services.

Speaking at this year’s M360 event in Dubai, Nokia flagged the Dubai Expo 2020 as a potential launchpad for 5G, alongside the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.