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Zain Bahrain Is Moving to the Future with LTE Upgrade

Untitled Document Zain Bahrain has contracted Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) to upgrade its network with HSPA+ technology as part of the operator’s transition to an all-IP, flat network. NSN will deploy its Flexi multiradio base station, capable of supporting LTE via a simple software upgrade. The vendor will replace Zain’s existing core network with its Mobile Soft Switching (MSS) solution, while the charging system will be upgraded to the NSN prepaid solution, based on charge@once select. This evolution of its mobile broadband network will facilitate the operator’s plans to deploy LTE.

Zain in Bahrain customers will soon enjoy faster data downloads and an enhanced customer experience, thanks to its transition to an all-IP, flat network through the introduction of Internet High Speed Packet Access (I-HSPA) and the Middle East Region’s first Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. Implemented by Nokia Siemens Networks will vastly boost Zain’s state-of-the-art services through improved voice, data and multimedia services.

“This project will not only create a world class network, but will be a showcase for the all the Zain Group’s 24 operations across the Middle East and Africa,” declared Dr Saad Al Barrak, CEO of Zain Group. “This upgrade will ‘future proof’ the network allowing us to offer Bahrain and visiting ‘One Network’ Zain customers a plethora of wonderful mobile services for many years ahead. The experience and knowhow gained from this advanced technology in Bahrain will be exported to and shared with all our operations.” 

Zain Bahrain customers will find a dramatic improvement in accessing the internet with speeds of up to 14 Mbps in the first stage with I-HSPA, and even higher speeds in the second stage with LTE. There will also be a dramatic improvement in coverage throughout the Kingdom, where ongoing infrastructure development necessitates parallel development of the mobile network. In short, Zain customers will continue to experience the best quality service wherever ever they are.

Additionally with Bahrain being part of Zain’s ‘One Network”, all travelling inbound Zain customers will also benefit from this improved technology and faster access speeds without any additional roaming fees.

“In the mobile broadband era, we needed a scalable and versatile platform planning for and pre-empting our customers’ needs,” said Zain Bahrain General Manager, Mohammed Zainalabedin adding that, “this upgrade will increase Zain Bahrain’s competitiveness, enhance operations and processes and lead to a faster and higher return on investment all translating into products and services that make a qualitative difference to customers’ lives.”

Nokia Siemens Networks will also replace the existing network with the latest Mobile Soft Switching (MSS) solution. The charging system will be upgraded to the Nokia Siemens Networks prepaid solution, based on charge@once select. Network and service management will be provided by NetAct and Traffica.  

 “This project has been driven by Zain Bahrain’s short term expansion needs, but the investments they make today, will contribute to long-term benefits,” said Mr. Ahmad Othman, Head of “Zain Group” Customer Business Team for Nokia Siemens Networks.

“By implementing our latest base station, mobile soft switching and charging offering, not to mention our comprehensive LTE solution portfolio, Zain Bahrain will be the first mobile operator in the Middle East to enjoy affordable and advanced plug-and-play services.” 

About Zain

Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to 69.5 million active customers as at 30 June 2009. In terms of country footprint, Zain is the 3rd largest mobile operator in the world with a commercial presence in 24 countries.

Zain operates in the following countries: Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine (currently known as Paltel Group), Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In Lebanon, the company manages ‘mtc-touch’ on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain owns 31% of Wana Telecom through a joint venture.

Zain offers innovative services in its markets such as ‘One Network’, the world’s first borderless mobile telecommunications network enabling customers when abroad to receive calls and sms without charge and to make voice and data calls at local rates throughout 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East. This service allows a customer to top up airtime in one’s home country or from more than 1,000,000 outlets within Zain’s One Network footprint.

Zain Bahrain entered the Kingdom's telecoms market in 2003 as the second mobile service entrant. Riding on the promise of innovative business practices and cutting-edge technology, Zain Bahrain has delivered on these promises by putting Bahrain on the global telecommunications map with a string of firsts – the first country with nation-wide 3G, then 3.5G and now, WiMAX coverage. Today, Zain Bahrain has developed into a successful fixed wireless service operator offering full-spectrum corporate telecoms solutions, voice and data services to customers in the Kingdom. The company is committed to nurturing the finest Bahraini talent and has an energetic and inspired majority-Bahraini workforce. Its strong CSR initiatives have made Zain Bahrain an active partner in Bahrain's development and progress.

The Zain brand is wholly owned by Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC, which is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (Stock ticker: ZAIN). Zain is listed in the Financial Times’ Global 500 Index which ranks the world’s largest companies based on market capitalization. Zain aims to become one of the top ten mobile operators in the world by end of the year 2011. For more, please visit www.zain.com.