Industry tracker Opensignal has said that Saudi Arabia has the fastest 5G download speed out of 15 countries surveyed, with its average of 377.2 megabits per second (Mbps) beating out South Korea’s 336.1 Mbps. The Saudi Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) has said that the country’s investments in 5G networks are planned to position the country as a 5G regulator, which will include classification as such by the UN agency International Telecommunications Union. Digitalization of the economy is a key aspect of the country’s Vision 2030 initiative to meet the future by diversifying its economy away from oil, with specific goals to become in the top 20 countries for telecommunications and IT by 2030 and improve the sector’s contribution to GDP. In 2019, the CITC partnered with Middle East telecom company Zain Group to manage the first phase of the country’s 5G rollout; as of September 2020, Zain has deployed more than 2,600 towers covering 38 Saudi cities. Meanwhile, Nokia, Ericsson, and Cisco Systems partnered with rival carrier Saudi Telecom Company in mid-2019 to launch additional 5G-related services, while Saudi Mobily Company also announced a partnership with Nokia to manage its 5G rollout.
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