Celona has a deal with STC (Saudi Telecommunication Company) Group in the Middle East on private 5G. The operator will use Celona’s 5G system to stand-up its digital-change sales in the mining, manufacturing, and logistics sectors. The pair had a “full-scale” automated guided vehicle (AGV) system running on 5G in a mocked-up warehouse at LEAP 2024 in Riyadh in March. 

The deal was signed at LEAP 2024. Celona was featured as the 5G system behind STC’s connected mines, factories, and ports displays, besides. The showcase included a range of control applications, including for safety and security, monitoring, and intrusion detection, as well as how private 5G can be used for backhaul for satellite connections in remote environments. 

The Saudi firm will use the Celona system to go with its cloud services, IoT solutions, and cybersecurity proposition for enterprise customers in the region. Celona called it a “milestone” agreement that will combine the two companies’ respective enterprise solutions for private 5G connectivity and digital-change solutions.

Mehmet Yavuz, co-founder and chief technology officer at Celona, said: “The joint offer will present a business-centric approach to private networks, designed to meet the increasing demand for reliable wireless capabilities, extensive coverage, and seamless connectivity essential for network-dependent business applications and IoT systems.”

Not much else was said about the deal. STC was working as recently as March with Finnish vendor Nokia, which remains the leading provider of private cellular, and the major target for Celona. STC and Nokia tested private 5G based on cloud-native open RAN, they said at the time. STC is focused on “open, virtualised, flexible, and interoperable” private networks, they stated.

The Nokia trial was hosted on Microsoft’s Azure Operator Nexus cloud platform. STC said: “Our collaboration with Nokia and Microsoft underscores our commitment to driving digital transformation and enabling our customers to leverage the full potential of advanced technologies as part of our R&D development with our partners and hyperscalers.”

There is no suggestion, now, the deal with Celona is exclusive. Nokia announced a parallel deal yesterday (April 30) with Middle East operator Ooredoo Group to collaborate on private 5G, again with a focus on enterprise transformation with industrial IoT and AI, and so on. There is no word that that deal is exclusive, either. 

STC signed a joint-venture deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to establish a new IoT company in 2022 to make Saudi Arabia a regional centre for IoT-driven enterprise transformation in the Middle East and North Africa. It has a deal, from 2021, with Sensoneo to provide smart waste management in the region, based on ultrasonic NB-IoT sensors.

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