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STC, Nokia Siemens Networks launch commercial 4G network using TD-LTE

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – September 15, 2011

Western Saudi Arabia network provides mobile broadband, superior customer experience

Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is now able to offer commercial 4G mobile services using TD-LTE *(time division long term evolution) technology. The 4G network was built by Nokia Siemens Networks for the country’s western region. TD-LTE offers an enhanced mobile broadband experience with faster access to high quality video and more responsive data services such as interactive gaming.

LTE, a fourth generation mobile broadband technology, enables STC to deliver high data throughputs, allowing consumers to benefit from a wide range of new and innovative multimedia applications and services. Nokia Siemens Networks supports two LTE standards, time division duplex (TDD) for single spectrum bands or frequency division duplex (FDD) for paired spectrum bands. Each offers similar capacity, user experience and coverage. STC has deployed an unpaired TD LTE mobile broadband network.

“Nokia Siemens Networks’ capabilities and commitment to the overall LTE ecosystem have contributed to STC’s leadership in providing innovative mobile broadband services,” said Dr. Zeyad Bin Thamer Al Otaibi, group CTO, Saudi Telecom Company. “The transformational capabilities of 4G will provide our customers with increased speeds and enhanced user experience.”

The Middle East and Africa region will witness an increase of monthly mobile data traffic at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 129% over the next five years, which is the fastest for any region in the world**. In Saudi Arabia, demand for increased mobile broadband penetration is being driven by young consumers and a large expatriate community.

In Saudi Arabia’s western region, Nokia Siemens Networks delivered the TD-LTE network and USB data dongles as end user devices for the commercial launch. The TD-LTE radio network is built on a cluster of sites in the three cities in the western region. It uses Nokia Siemens Networks’ single radio access network (RAN) including its Flexi Multiradio Base Stations and is integrated with the operator’s existing core, transport and backhaul infrastructure. Nokia Siemens Networks’ TD-LTE network and USB data dongles can provide maximum data speeds of close to 100Mbps as specified by 3GPP. In addition, it works seamlessly with STC’s 3G network and services that the company offers as an Internet Services Provider. This enables service continuity for customers, wherever they are.

“Before launching the commercial service, we successfully tested applications such as video streaming, file download, gaming and web browsing services that fulfill the demanding needs of the Saudi users”, said Soenke Peters, group head of the STC team at Nokia Siemens Networks.“The results show that TD-LTE enables excellent data speeds and highly responsive services such as innovative multimedia applications, allowing customers to enjoy a superior ‘click-wow’ experience rather than the earlier ‘click-and-wait’ one.”

The TD-LTE launch demonstrated the viability of this platform and the commercial readiness of Nokia Siemens Networks’ TD-LTE network and devices. Nokia Siemens Networks is leading the commercialization of LTE for commercial references and live network performance. It signed the region’s first LTE contract in October 2009. Today, 3 of the company’s 44 worldwide commercial LTE deals are in the Middle East.

About Nokia Siemens Networks

Nokia Siemens Networks is a leading global enabler of telecommunications services. With its focus on innovation and sustainability, the company provides a complete portfolio of mobile, fixed and converged network technology, as well as professional services including consultancy and systems integration, deployment, maintenance and managed services. It is one of the largest telecommunications hardware, software and professional services companies in the world. Operating in 150 countries, its headquarters are in Espoo, Finland.

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Notes to editors
* Nokia Siemens Networks is leading the commercialization of Long Term Evolution (LTE) in terms of commercial references and live network performance. LTE is the next-generation mobile broadband technology and the evolutionary step from GSM, WCDMA/HSPA/HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, CDMA and WiMAX networks. It delivers the best broadband user experience and smart device services in an efficient way due to increased data rates, reduced latency and scalable flat all-IP network architecture. Nokia Siemens Networks has shipped its LTE ready Flexi Multiradio Base Station to over 200 operators. In addition, it was the first to make an LTE call using commercial hardware and standards-compliant software in 2009.

According to the latest information available, 27 commercial LTE networks are launched to date (14 out of these 27 networks use Nokia Siemens Networks’ LTE equipment).

Among Nokia Siemens Networks’ 44 commercial LTE deals are Agri-Valley Communications in USA (radio, EPC); Azerfon in Azerbaijan (radio); Deutsche Telekom in Germany (radio); Elisa Finland and Elisa Estonia (radio, EPC); KDDI in Japan (radio); LG U+ in South Korea (radio); LightSquared (national LTE network incl. 40,000 base stations) in USA (radio, EPC); Mobily (Etisalat) in Saudi Arabia (radio, EPC); Mosaic Telecom in USA (radio, EPC); NTT DOCOMO in Japan (radio, EPC); SK Telecom in South Korea (radio); Tele2 in Sweden (EPC); Telecom Italia (radio); Telefónica O2 in Germany (radio); Telenor Denmark (radio); Telia in Sweden, TeliaSonera in Denmark and Finland and EMT (TeliaSonera) in Estonia (radio); LMT (TeliaSonera) in Latvia (radio, EPC); TMN Portugal (radio, EPC); Verizon Wireless in USA (IMS for SMS over LTE and VoLTE) and Zain Bah rain (radio, EPC).

An LTE performance drive test by Signals Research Group on a Swedish commercial live LTE network confirmed that the overall results achieved in the Gothenburg network (supplied by Nokia Siemens Networks) were better than those achieved in the Stockholm network (supplied by another vendor). For more information about the performance of Nokia Siemens Networks’ LTE offering, please refer to an independent report from Signals Research called ’Signals Ahead LTE Drive Test Revisited - Part 1’, which is available here.

Nokia Siemens Networks’ Single RAN including the Flexi Multiradio Base Station provides a future-proof, easy and cost-efficient path to LTE in both FDD and TDD spectrum bands via a simple software upgrade. Besides the Single RAN that supports GSM, 3G, FDD-LTE and TD-LTE, the company’s LTE telecom infrastructure offering also features the Evolved Packet Core, including Flexi NS (Network Server) and Flexi NG (Network Gateway), transport solutions, network management system, Self Organizing Networks (SON), the award-winning Voice over LTE (VoLTE), provisioning and charging solutions and a range of professional services to plan, install, maintain and operate networks.

*TD-LTE is the Time Division Duplex (TDD) spectrum variant of 3GPP LTE and allows operators around the globe to leverage current and future unpaired spectrum for 4G mobile broadband. In addition to the various ongoing TD-LTE trials worldwide, STC’s TD-LTE launch demonstrates the viability and the commercial readiness of Nokia Siemens Networks’ TD-LTE end user devices and infrastructure.

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Nokia Siemens Networks provides operators a wide range of end user devices including USB dongles, indoor and outdoor Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and Pocket Routers for GSM, 3G, LTE, WiMAX and Wi-Fi.

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** Nomura, Research - Sector review, EM Telecom Services, June 27, 2011