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Manama –10 November 2019: Bridging from a nationwide LTE advanced network to 5G, Zain Bahrain, the leading telecom operator in the Kingdom, have selected Ericsson's (NASDAQ: ERIC) market-leading 5G portfolio to deploy a 5G radio network in the Kingdom of Bahrain, allowing Zain to offer enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless access while providing Zain customers with a higher speed, responsiveness and reach that could unlock the full capabilities of the latest technology trends such as virtual reality, augmented reality and the internet of things (IoT) for Zain customers.

The new multi-year agreement was signed in a special event held at Four Seasons Bahrain Bay on Thursday, 7th November under the attendance of H.E. Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications. The event was also attended by Börje Ekholm, Ericsson CEO; who came to Bahrain specifically for Zain Bahrain 5G announcement event.

Under the terms of Zain's Bahrain strategic agreement with Ericsson, which involves network modernization from LTE to 5G, Ericsson will provide Zain Bahrain with 3GPP standards-based 5G New Radio (NR) hardware and software from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio, including Massive MIMO solutions as well as the Ericsson Packet Core. Zain Bahrain has also modernized its LTE network for an unprecedented mobile experience that will digitally transform and upgrade Zain's existing mobile networks and introduce the latest 5G technologies across the Kingdom.

Zain Bahrain advanced 5G network promises to deliver very high data speed, extreme low latency, ultra-high reliability, energy efficiency and extreme device densities, which will be realized by the development of LTE in combination with Ericsson new radio-access technologies. Zain Bahrain customers can expect greater speed, low latency and the ability to get more data into and through the network.

In addition, Zain Bahrain has successfully completed the 5G data session during the event to showcase 5G 360 degrees streaming capabilities with 4K definition.

Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Engineer Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, Bahrain Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications said, "As one of the first countries globally to provide commercial 5G services to consumers, we are pleased to see Zain Bahrain deploying the 5G network and its commitment in adopting latest technologies and innovation which in turn reflects on the Kingdom's drive for innovation and reinforces its position as a regional leader in the telecommunications and ICT sector" 

Zain Bahrain Chairman, His Excellency Shaikh Ahmed bin Ali Al Khalifa said, "This agreement marks a major milestone for both companies. Zain Bahrain is excited about the new strategic partnership with Ericsson to support, expand and speed up the deployment of the Kingdom 5G network.  Zain Bahrain ability to provide the latest 5G revolution services comes under the continues commitment to invest in Zain's digitalization strategy to empower Zain Bahrain customers with solutions and services that are at the forefront of our digital future. 5G is the latest technology revolution, every new generation has primarily been defined by its increased data transmission speeds. But from an innovation perspective, each of the modern leaps in wireless network technology has brought distinct change: The second generation (2G) allowed voice transmission, the third generation (3G) opened the door to mobile data and rich content, LTE brought a speed boost that ushered in the app and mobile-streaming revolution.

"5G is expected to be the connectivity infrastructure that will foster the industrial and societal transformation. It is about a network infrastructure that is easy and can be used for all sorts of different and personalized usages. It could unlock the full capabilities of the latest technology trends and become an innovation platform and an opportunity for Zain Bahrain to provide specialized network services to a series of new industry partners: from the automotive, to health to energy sectors.  To guarantee an open Internet. But also, to allow such specialized services to grow everyday life. And with Zain future network infrastructure; 5G, will become the infrastructure."

"This partnership also contributes to Bahrain's 2030 innovation strategy. As 5G becomes mainstream, we are dedicated to transforming industries and enhancing people's digital lives and explore new use cases and capture new revenue streams by addressing industry digitalization," added Zain Bahrain Chairman, Shaikh Ahmed bin Ali Al Khalifa.

Fadi Pharaon, President of Ericsson Middle East & Africa, said: "5G promises to accelerate the digitization of industries, presenting new opportunities and enabling service providers to launch the most advanced technologies while improving the end-user experience with faster speeds and lower latency. The deployment of these technologies will enable Zain Bahrain to meet the rapidly evolving demands of consumers and accelerate deployment of new use cases and innovative services for their enterprise and industry customers."

Deploying the 5G-ready radio access and core network infrastructure marks a new chapter of collaboration between Ericsson and Zain Bahrain. The transformation will make Zain more agile as it moves towards launching commercial 5G services using both fixed and mobile access. In addition to improving operational efficiency, it also enhances network capabilities for IoT applications and other potential future services.

Zain Bahrain is now at the cross road of exciting development path towards 5G technology and digitalization. 

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