Zain Group announced it achieved one of the highest recorded data rates in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) during a trial of pre-standard 5G technology conducted on 2GHz spectrum.

The operator generated maximum throughput speeds of more than 70Gb/s during proof of concept tests conducted at its Innovation Centre in Kuwait. Zain plans to use the findings from the trial to increase throughput on its existing 4.5G LTE networks in multiple markets, with a view to improving customer experience along with increasing the data rates on offer.

Bader Al-Kharafi, Zain vice-chairman and group CEO (pictured, left), said the demonstration is a “leap forward in the implementation of 5G network capability”, and will enable the company to “accelerate its mobile broadband network transformation”.

Al-Kharafi added the deployment of 5G technology will deliver benefits “across all sectors, and not just ICT”.

Examples include: offering more immersive experiences using augmented reality; boosting automotive safety; transforming manufacturing; monitoring and tracking services; and creating new business opportunities by improving customer service.

“We believe 5G will be the catalyst for Zain achieving its transformation objectives and becoming a leading regional digital lifestyle operator”, Al-Kharafi stated.

Eaman Al Roudhan, CEO of Zain Kuwait (pictured, right), said the trial positions the operator “to offer 5G technology to our customers as soon as it becomes technically available.” Such capability will put the company in: “a prime position to offer unique products and services, including many smart city and IoT initiatives.”

Rival trials
Zain Group is not the only operator in MEA to trial pre-commercial 5G technology.

In October 2016 Etisalat CEO Saleh Al Abdooli noted the operator was making good progress in terms of its 5G trials, achieving data rates of 36Gb/s according to information released by network testing, monitoring and assurance service provider Viavi Solutions in February.

Rival Ooredoo announced it achieved data rates of 35.46Gb/s in lab tests of pre-commercial 5G in December 2016.