Saudi Telecom Company (stc) penned an agreement with US-based Omnispace to develop satellite-to-phone communications services using space-based 5G connectivity in its home market of Saudi Arabia.

The operator, which won a spectrum auction for non-terrestrial networks (NTN) in the 2100MHz band in December 2022, will use Omnispace’s 3GPP-compliant NTN to deliver “cost-effective” broadband connectivity beyond its existing land-based network.

Omnispace stated the initiative will combine mobile and satellite connectivity, a move aiming to support stc’s network coverage and provide services in Saudi Arabia’s underserved areas.

As part of the collaboration, the companies will work together to improve voice and data services and expand “mobile roaming in even the remotest of regions”, said Khaled Ibrahim Aldharrab, VP of technology standard and architecture at stc.

“We have an important opportunity to develop the network of the future, offering our customers connectivity through an industry-first combined” mobile and satellite network, he added.

The operator stated its business clients in agriculture, finance and automotive sectors will benefit from advanced services enabled by the tie-up.

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