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Umniah partners with Ericsson to expand coverage

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Feb 04,2021 - Last updated at Feb 04,2021

AMMAN — Umniah Mobile Company and Ericsson on Wednesday announced a new partnership aimed at improving the company’s coverage across the Kingdom and boosting the 4G service.

“What happened last year in the world and in Jordan has led us to rethink of the ways we deal with and design networks, contemplating the creation of a flexible network that can deal with the changes in the world,” Umniah CEO Ziad Shatara said during a press conference.

Shatara said that when the coronavirus crisis began last year, telecom companies had to deal with a surge in Internet consumption, in addition to issues with supplies of equipment for the networks.

“We reconsidered all our operations throughout 2020, viewing things from a different perspective, and so today the partnership with Ericsson comes to improve the network’s towers and coverage all over the Kingdom,” Shatara said.

The project’s implementation will begin at the beginning of the second quarter of 2021, he said.

Shatara said Umniah is investing around JD30 million in the partnership with Ericsson for the upgrades, but did not divulge the total value of the entire project.

In regard to what the partnership would bring to the overall user experience in Jordan, Chief Technology Officer at Umniah Sami Idbies said: “This partnership will boost the customer experience by upgrading and expanding the network capacities and speeds, and having Ericsson will help boost our technology in many locations covered in the Kingdom.”

Answering a question on addressing the change of consumer behaviour during the pandemic through the partnership, Vice President and Head of Ericsson Levant Countries and Global Customer Unit Ooredoo Group Kevin Murphy said: “We have seen changes in behaviour globally in relation to people working from home and videoconferencing and so forth.”

“We are hoping to build capacity into the network so that this behaviour can be addressed appropriately,” he noted.

On the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in boosting the network’s performance, Vice President and Head of Networks at Ericsson Middle East & Africa Chafic Traboulsi said: “Artificial intelligence improves the capabilities of maintenance and software upgrades among many other options, the tools for which are manufactured at Ericsson and will be supplied to Umniah.”

The project will be carried out on stages, and customers will feel “a tangible difference” in a few months, but the overall project will need an entire year to cover the entire Kingdom, Idbies noted.

The upgrade is focused on 4G rather than 5G not due to a lack of technology but because there are no licences for the latter yet, Shatara said, noting that telecom companies are still discussing the matter with the government to have the service enter the Kingdom.

“We are deploying our single-round solution, it is a high capacity architecture solution, contributing to many things like environment saving … we are hoping that with this deployment in targeted areas, we will have efficiency gains between 30 to 50 per cent,” Murphy said.

The changes will affect power consumption of the equipment and the heat dissipation that will be generated after, Idbies said on the matter.

On other endeavours of Ericsson in the Kingdom, Traboulsi said there are plans to delve deeper into the radio field, noting that the partnership with Umniah is “only a beginning”.


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