Nokia and STC Business have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the launch of an air-to-ground pilot network in Saudi Arabia. The two companies have already conducted a successful trial of Nokia’s LTE-based air-to-ground solution in a flight from Riyadh to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

This trial network is the first of its kind in MEA, after the launch of the hybrid satellite and air-to-ground European Aviation Network in February 2018.
Under the scope of the MoU, the two companies have identified key areas of cooperation and are working together to build a commercial strategy to better serve the interests of customers by providing them with superior in-flight connectivity. Nokia and STC will also work together on the network managed services and rollout for the air-to-ground services across the STC Group.

For the trial network, Nokia provided a fully dedicated end-to-end network, including Nokia’s LTE air-to-ground radio access network, core infrastructure and applications. Nokia’s professional services team deployed specialized air-to-ground sites and carried out extensive testing to ensure a successful trial. Thales, Nokia’s technology partner for aviation equipment, provided the onboard equipment for the trial network.

Dr. Tarig Enaya, senior VP of Enterprise Business Unit at STC, said, “We are committed to bringing the best and latest technology to the region and this initiative is a testimony of this. Nokia is the world’s only company that has a proven LTE end-to-end solution to provide in-flight broadband, which enables the passengers and the crew to communicate in real-time. We have a longstanding relationship with Nokia, and are delighted to work with them to introduce this LTE-based in-flight technology to significantly improve the experience of the passengers.”

Mohamed Abdelrehim, head of end-to-end sales solutioning for Nokia MEA, said, “We are proud to collaborate with STC and showcase the potential of air-to-ground technology at GITEX in Dubai. The air-to-ground technology will enable STC to provide new and revolutionary services for their customers and add new revenue streams. With high-speed and low-latency broadband, airline passengers will be able to communicate with their loved ones or for business without any disruption because of air travel. Also, the airline crew will be able to improve operational efficiency because of better real-time communication between the flight crew and ground staff.”

Photo: (Left to right) Dr. Fahad Mushayt, CEO, STC Specialized; and Amr K. El Leithy, Head of the MEA market, Nokia, sign MoU. In the background (left to right) Dr. Tarig Enaya, Senior VP of Enterprise Business Unit at STC; Waseem Al-Marzogi, Head of the STC customer business team at Nokia; and Bernard Najm, Head of the Middle East Market Unit, Nokia.

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