LIVE FROM MWL UNWRAPPED: An executive for Qatar-based operator group Ooredoo outlined how it has juggled 5G deployments across its footprint of ten countries and territories while also preparing for the advent of 6G.

Group CTIO Timos Tsokanis said there is no one-size fits all blueprint for deploying 5G because regulators in some of the countries it serves have not yet made spectrum available.

He noted while Ooredoo still uses 4G in some countries, it is getting them ready for 5G.

“What we’re doing is we’re sweating our assets on 4G using carrier aggregation and other technologies to prepare for 5G.”

Ooredoo is offering as many services as possible with its existing 4G networks before it makes the move to 5G, but Tsokanis noted there needs to be revenue to fund the transition.

“I’m sure you understand very well that 5G implies a lot of investment costs for us,” he stated while noting there were different levels of network maturity across the operator’s markets.

It has rolled out 5G across areas of the six countries comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with 30 per cent of its traffic carried on the next-generation networks. 

“This is supported by a very high degree of hybridisation in these nations,” he stated.

He explained rollouts vary from country to country, while acknowledging they will all ultimately require connectivity.

“What works in one country does not necessarily work in another”.

While Ooredoo is focused on building out 5G, Tsokanis stated it is “never too soon to talk about 6G”.

“The reason being is that each new technology generation leap implies massive investments that need to be prepared [for] well ahead,” he said. while noting there are many facets of 6G specifications currently under discussion by standard bodies.

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