In Saudi Arabia, the strong growth in mobile users, smartphones, mobile video consumption and IoT connections are projected to significantly increase mobile data traffic over the next five years. At a global level, Cisco forecasts that 5G will account for 1.5 percent of total mobile data traffic by 2021, generating 4.7 times more traffic than the average 4G connection. Around 25 million 5G connections are expected to be in place by 2021, representing 0.2% of global mobile connections.
For the first time in the Middle East and Africa region, we will be helping Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to deploy Control and User Plane Separation (CUPS) as well as our virtualized Ultra Packet Core to ensure enhanced network throughput and flexibility.
Cisco’s virtualized Ultra Packet Core will be layered onto the STC Cloud, providing the necessary flexibility, scale and performance to manage future 5G consumer demand for enhanced mobile broadband services and in preparation for the rollout of new digital services.
Our Cisco CUPS solution delivers the ability to scale the user plane and control plane independently of one another, promoting a more cost-effective approach to core mobile architecture and future-proofing the network for 5G. I’m happy to share that we have already successfully completed the first CUPS trial at STC’s labs in Riyadh in 2017, marking a significant step towards the expected deployment of 5G mobile services in Saudi Arabia.
STC is on a mission to play a leading role in helping Saudi Arabia fulfill the economic development goals outlined in the National Transformation Plan 2020 (NTP) as part of the Vision 2030 development program. This partnership with us is a strategic leap towards reaching that goal. It will also enable the provider to realize their new network strategy, STC Leap, which aims to lower the cost of introducing and operating data services, accelerate time-to-market for differentiated services, and expand business productivity.
Mobile networks continue to evolve, driven by the need for increased performance, agility, and operational efficiency. 5G technology will have significant relevance given the proliferation of IoT, live mobile video, and augmented and virtual reality applications, while enabling new revenue streams through more innovative experiences for consumer and business users.
The distributed nature of the Ultra Services Platform, which forms the core of our software-defined mobility framework, will finally support STC’s transformation into a digital services provider. They will be able to deliver high-quality digital services to customers and increase operational efficiency by placing resources closer to the end user. Features such as reduced network latency will allow STC to deliver a better experience to its subscribers and develop a richer suite of services.
STC has bold ambitions for the delivery of next generation services and we are happy to work closely with them in their drive to break new ground in 5G. This deal highlights the innovative partnership with STC, which is committed to providing digital services, security and 5G services in the cloud-scale era.