SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia launches first WiFi 6e network in Europe, Africa and Middle East region

April 01, 2021

RIYADH — The Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) announced that it will be the first country in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to make the full 6 GHz frequency band available for Wi-Fi use. That means there are now 150 percent more open airwaves that routers can use for the new generation of Wi-Fi network. By allocating 1,200 MHz of the radio spectrum for the WiFi6e, Saudi Arabia has now made 2,035 MHz of spectrum available for a new generation of WiFi and other license-exempt technologies — more than any country in the world.

The decision set the stage for the next decade of Wi-Fi advancements, with many applications for users in Saudi Arabia with many use cases such as telemedicine, schooling, and remote working.

Fostering WiFi 6e in Saudi Arabia was announced during a webinar ‘’Fostering New Generation of WiFi Technologies in Saudi Arabia’’ which discussed the role of new WiFi Technologies in digitizing the Kingdom on April 1, 2021.

Speaking during the launch event, Mohammed Al Tamimi, the governor of CITC, said: ‘‘Saudi Arabia has partnered with global manufacturers to demonstrate the technology and will continue working with the industry to facilitate its use in the Kingdom. Devices that embrace WiFi 6e technology are expected to hit the market before the end of 2021”. He also noted: ‘'The latest WiFI 6e technology would improve internet speeds by 5-fold for WiFi users in Saudi Arabia at home and in public areas such as airports and shopping malls."

In terms of internet speeds, Saudi Arabia retained its place as the 7th fastest country in the world for mobile internet speeds, averaging 109.48 Mbps in Q4 2020, and 4th in the world for 5G internet speeds with an average of 264.7 Mbps.

The world's fastest 5G peak download speed of 862.6 Mbps was recorded by Saudi 5G users, surpassing South Korea in second place by 11 percent. In 2020, 5,358 new 5G towers were deployed across the country bringing the total to 12,302 5G towers by the end of the year. This number is set to grow as the allocation of spectrum for commercial uses continues to increase, as does the demand for faster internet services.

In addition to faster internet speeds, WiFi 6e will also enable future network applications across a wide range of uses including the Internet of Things, smart homes, and virtual reality applications. WiFi 6e will also increase the efficiency of wireless applications in the education, health, and entertainment industries by connecting Wi-Fi networks with fiber optics to allow faster data transmission. WiFi 6e also paves the way for Wi-Fi 7, the next generation of WiFi.

The webinar hosted by CITC was attended by several multinational firms, with speakers from Intel, Apple, Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA), Microsoft, WiFi Alliance, Facebook, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and others.

The announcement follows CITC’s recent publication of its new spectrum outlook for commercial and innovative use, which aims to improve the innovative use spectrum and enable new generations of smart innovative wireless technologies by 2025.


April 01, 2021
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