Zain (زين) is a mobile network operator servicing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Zain launched its commercial operations on 26 August 2008, a year after it was awarded its mobile license. The group holds management control of the operation through its 37% ownership stake.
The company operated 2G GSM over 900 and 1800 MHz bands, and 3G UMTS over B1 (2100 MHz) since inception. In 2010 the company launched an additional B8 (900 MHz) 3G service, and upgraded the entire network to HSPA+.
4G LTE was commercially activated in September 2011 over B3 (1800 MHz) using refarmed GSM spectrum. The company has since refarmed 2100 MHz spectrum to launch a B1 (2100 MHz) carrier. An LTE-A upgrade increased peak data rates to 150 Mbps by aggregating the two 10 MHz carriers under CA_1A-3A. A 187.5 Mbps 3C CA service was commercially launched in May 2016 combining an additional 5 MHz B8 (900 MHz) carrier using refarmed GSM spectrum.
In partnership with Nokia, Zain conducted a 2.6 GHz TDD-LTE pilot in February 2019 using B38 (2600 MHz), using 64T64R Massive MIMO to deliver peak data rates of 700 Mbps per user. Following the pilot, Zain announced it would begin national deployment of the TDD service.
The company is reported to be internally trialling NB-IoT. A 5G strategy is under development on conjunction with partners Huawei and Nokia.
4G LTE Network Information
Details on LTE network deployments are shown below. Data are often incomplete due to commercial nature. Consult dossier text for further details.
|Evolution||Status||Active [Launched 2011-09]|
|Max. MIMO||Max. Modulation|
|LTE Band||Channel Width||Status|