Zain, Ooredoo, and VIVA launch first local VoLTE interconnection in MENA

A better connected Kuwait

KUWAIT: (Left to right) Hendrik Vorster, Zarrar Khan and Daaij Al-Oud.

KUWAIT: Zain, Ooredoo, and VIVA, Kuwait’s leading telecom operators, jointly announced the launch of the first local Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) interconnection in the Middle East and North Africa region. The service is now commercially available between the three operators’ networks.

This collaboration will offer a seamless and direct local VoLTE-to-VoLTE HD voice experience between Zain, Ooredoo, and VIVA customers, providing a fully-operational and stable interconnect experience during phone calls on supported devices.
The technical teams of Kuwait’s three mobile operators showcased exceptional dedication and commitment to execute this major strategic project within the planned deadlines. All parties worked closely with the GSMA, the trade association for the mobile operator community, to help make Kuwait the first country in the MENA region to commercially launch IMS Interconnect.

Before the commercial launch, the three operators jointly conducted several successful tests of the VoLTE interconnection in partnership with Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider. The contribution of Huawei’s highly-flexible infrastructure and long-term expertise was key to the success of the project.

Daaij Al-Oud, Acting Chief Technical Officer of Zain Kuwait, commented: “this accomplishment adds a tremendous value to our customers, where they will be able to enjoy unprecedented features on the interconnected network. Our continuous investment and dedication to develop our 4G LTE infrastructure will allow full independence from the older 2G/3G infrastructure”.

Al-Oud continued: “this achievement will further strengthen our capabilities in providing an end-to-end high quality IMS experience off of Zain’s network. The next step will see trials of a similar interconnection but on an international scale, where our customers will be able to enjoy high-quality end-to-end VoLTE calls with our other partners through VoLTE roaming services”

Hendrik Vorster, CTO Ooredoo Kuwait, commented: “this initiative further enhances our Customer Experience and increased Quality-of-Service for our subscribers within Kuwait. Faster call-setup times and higher quality Voice and Video calling, with VoLTE interconnect, places Kuwait at a technology forefront and will be the springboard for further development of new IMS-based Value Added Services. Our Advanced LTE network, combined with extensive coverage on the back of recently completed network modernization, will ensure the best experience for our customers”.

Eng Zarrar Khan, Chief Technology Officer at VIVA Kuwait, commented: “In 2015, VIVA has introduced the VoLTE technology on its network, making it possible for customers to receive high quality voice calls and HD video calls through the LTE network, facilitating the development of existing innovations and paving the way for the future development of many applications for both consumers and businesses”.

Khan added: “We believe it is vital to foster close partnership with other operators in the Kuwaiti telecom market, to continue providing unique and unrivaled services and products. At VIVA, we have pledged to enrich the lives of our customers through our innovative strategy and vision not only as a technology leader, but also as a truly customer-centric company.”

Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA, said: “This is a major step forward for the region and will provide mobile subscribers in Kuwait with an enhanced, high-definition voice calling experience. We congratulate Ooredoo, VIVA and Zain for taking a leading role in the Middle East and North Africa and delivering next-generation services to their customers in Kuwait, and we encourage other operators around the world to follow their example”.

Jason Jiang, Huawei Kuwait VP, commented: “the launch of VoLTE interconnect among three operators represents a significant milestone for LTE development in Kuwait. It will greatly benefit consumers with HD voice services and strengthen Kuwait’s position as an LTE service leader in the region. As a global ICT solution provider, Huawei is committed to continue its collaboration with operators in and out of Kuwait to release VoLTE international roaming services as part of 4G evolution, and will continue to contribute towards the development of new technologies and innovative services in the Kuwaiti market”.
The fruitful results of the three operators’ collaboration highlights the advanced capabilities of the Kuwaiti telecommunications sector, and is considered a positive step for the Middle East and North Africa markets.

Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals. Voice calls over LTE are recognized as the industry-agreed progression of voice services across mobile networks, deploying LTE radio access technology as it provides a more efficient use of spectrum than traditional voice and meets the rising demand for richer, more reliable and clear voice services.

VoLTE brings users a number of significant improvements. The service enhances the overall user experience without interrupting their LTE Internet experience. Connection times will be significantly shorter, which will come to complement and improve customers’ experience. Additionally, customers making connections on the LTE network while on a phone call will be able to do so in a smooth manner without any time lag on the existing phone call. The VoLTE advancement technology offers users the chance to perform a clear phone call while surfing the internet in full speed capacity.


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