Omar Al Omar-CEO of Zain & David Wang-President of Huawei Wireless Network Product Line.
Omar Al Omar-CEO of Zain & David Wang-President of Huawei Wireless Network Product Line.

KUWAIT: Zain Kuwait – Kuwait’s largest mobile operator-has signed a business contract together with Huawei – a leading global ICT solutions provider to use the power of virtualized network technologies to deliver more dynamic, flexible, and efficient mobile services to its customers over the next three years. The agreement will focus on the application of a cuttingedge trend in telecommunications known as Network Function Virtualization (NFV). It is a concept that is still fairly new to the Middle East-Zain Kuwait is the first regional operator to practice NFV on a live network-and which combines traditional telecommunications hardware with contemporary cloud-based and software-driven IT solutions.

The result is a network which can use virtual processes to streamline operations, utilize resources more effectively, and which can be scaled quickly to meet with customers’ rising service demands. “The concept of Network Function Virtualization is expected to change the ecosystem of modern telecommunications,” says Omar Al Omar, CEO of Zain Kuwait. “We are excited to work closely with Huawei on our virtualization strategy and to bring it live onto our networks as soon as possible. In particular, Huawei’s breadth of solutions and managed services can really help us to advance our overall network evolution strategy.”

More flexibility
“One of the great features of this project is that the NFV approach can provide operators with more flexibility in opening up their network’s capabilities-enabling them to pioneer new services faster and more efficiently to the end user,” said Mohamad Sharara, Head of Zain Key Account at Huawei. “Zain Kuwait has long been at the forefront of mobile service development. This is a testament to that vision. It pushes the boundaries of what we have seen in the Middle East to date, and we will take this NFV project as a successful case study in considering an expansion to other Zain operating companies.” In terms of technical deployments, the latest contract will see Zain Kuwait leverage a full suite of Huawei NFV solutions including cloud data centers, virtualized evolved packet cores (vEPC), a virtualized IMS core network, SDM hardware and software, and test bed hardware for the network.

In addition, Zain Kuwait has agreed to a three-year Managed Services contract with Huawei which will see Huawei experts assist Zain directly in setting up and managing the new solutions on top of NFV architecture. The agreement is part of Zain’s overall ICT transformation strategy over the next decade. This includes plans to evolve its current IT infrastructure to cloud data center and develop more digital services. Zain already utilizes a number of Huawei solutions and services to meet these ambitions, both on the IT level and in terms of telecommunications networks. Earlier this year the two companies unveiled plans for a new strategic cooperation that will trial and implement high-speed 4.5G services on Zain Kuwait’s network over the next three years. Zain has also established a Joint Innovation Center with Huawei in Kuwait to serve as a research hub for the advancement of future mobile broadband services and applications.