Nokia and Saudi Telecom Company subsidiary STC Business have teamed up to launch a pilot LTE-based air-to-ground network in Saudi Arabia.
The agreement was signed at GITEX Technology Week 2018, and follows a successful trial of Nokia's LTE-based air to ground solution on a flight from Riyadh to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
Under the agreement, Nokia and STC will jointly work to build a commercial strategy for providing customers with in-flight connectivity, as well as on the network managed services and rollout of air-to-ground services across the STC Group.
During the trial, Nokia provided a dedicated end-to-end network, including an air to ground RAN, core infrastructure and applications, while Nokia's technology partner for aviation equipment Thales provided the onboard equipment.
“The air-to-ground technology will enable STC to provide new and revolutionary services for their customers and add new revenue streams,” Nokia MEA head of end-to-end sales solutioning Mohamed Abdelrehim said.
“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."