BARCELONA: Nabeel Mohammed, Chief Technical Officer of Zain Kuwait, and Eng Zarrar Khan, Chief Technology Officer at VIVA, with Huawei and GSMA officials at Barcelona.

KUWAIT: Zain and VIVA, Kuwait's leading telecom operators, jointly announced the successful establishment of the first Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) interconnection in the Middle East and North Africa region in partnership with Huawei, a leading global ICT solutions provider. The announcement was made during the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2017 held in Barcelona, Spain in the presence of executive management representatives from Zain, VIVA, Huawei, and the GSMA.

The GSMA led initiative, a first in the MENA region, will allow a seamless and direct VoLTE-to-VoLTE HD voice experience between Zain and VIVA customers. The connectivity was established in a record time of five months, surpassing previously established records. The contribution of Huawei's highly-flexible infrastructure and expertise was key to the success of the interconnection and the record time achieved.

Nabeel Mohammed, Chief Technical Officer of Zain Kuwait, commented: "Zain's strategic vision is centered around innovation and technological advancement, being the leading telecom company in Kuwait. Every investment we make is based on the prospect of improving customer experience, now and into the future. This latest agreement, in partnership with VIVA and Huawei is a prime example of innovation and collaboration in the Kuwaiti telecom sector on a regional level."

Eng. Zarrar Khan, Chief Technology Officer at Kuwait Telecommunications Company VIVA, commented: "We believe it is vital to foster close partnership with "Zain" and "Huawei" in the Kuwaiti telecom market, to continue providing unique services and products that satisfy the aspirations of our customers.  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.

Lan Yun, Vice president of Huawei ME region, commented: "It is a valuable step forward to enrich the lives of Kuwait's people. We hope that Huawei can have more contributions to the Kuwaiti telecom industry in the coming future and build a better connected Kuwait.".

"This is a positive step for the region and will provide subscribers of all networks with enhanced calling and messaging experiences," said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. "In particular, all parties are to be congratulated for completing a complicated process in an incredibly short time frame. We hope this example will encourage other markets and regions around the world to follow suit."

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.