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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Nicolas Blixell, Vice President and Head of Gulf Council Countries at Ericsson, shares the company’s long history in Oman and its enthusiasm to empower ICT talents in the country.

With a long, storied history in Oman's telecom market, how is Ericsson supporting the nation's key sectors in their critical digital transformation agenda?

Ericsson has been in Oman since 1973, working with fixed line, and this year marks 50 years of presence in the country. We have been helping the operators build out the infrastructure that is supporting the diversification of sectors that are relying on telecommunications, such as education, healthcare and so on. We are continuing to do that with our cutting-edge technology; 5G being the latest and which we are rolling out here in Oman with our major partners. It is expected to lead to increased opportunities to diversify the economy of Oman. At Ericsson, we are fully supportive of Oman’s Vision 2040, and that is exciting for us.

How is Ericsson helping Oman’s economic diversification efforts? What are the most noteworthy projects targeted to achieve such objectives?

As previously mentioned, we are installing 5G networks on top of the existing 4G network. We also provide managed services where our expertise helps run those networks perfectly along with the transport network infrastructure. We are also quite ahead of the technology and sustainability curve. However, it's not only technology. We also need the knowledge to be transferred to the country. We do this with great delight towards the Omani people, working together with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research & Innovation, developing a center of excellence dedicated to the research on 5G and IoT to ensure the local talent is empowered to bring the Oman Vision 2040 to fruition and support the planned diversification efforts.

Sustainability has been a determining factor for today’s enterprise customers. How is Ericsson supporting CSPs in contributing to sustainable business operations in Oman?

At Ericsson, we take sustainability very seriously [in order] to be carbon neutral by 2040. To do that, we are providing end-to-end solutions, right from the design of a product that minimizes the energy consumption in network use to the supply chain assessments. We analyze the benefits of what can be [situated] remotely in the cloud architecture and how resources can be used efficiently from an end-to-end perspective. We are working on the sustainability vision in collaboration with our partners in Oman, who have sustainability goals at the top of their agenda.

Please share with us where Ericsson stands in the deployment process of 6G in Oman.

6G is an emerging technology which is currently being developed. We are looking at the standards together with other industry players, academia, and the government. At Ericsson, we recognize it will be a key shift to the next level of networks with the Internet of Senses as some of the features. However, we will develop it and keep you updated on our progress!

Please tell us about Ericsson’s efforts to develop ICT talents in the region. What are the challenges and opportunities?

While technology is getting simpler for the end users, it is getting more complex on the back end. Hence, there is a need for great talents to create, research, and develop such technologies. Here in Oman, Ericsson is upskilling the younger generation to help academia with various programs that we have put together. We are working with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research & Innovation and universities for mentorship programs and collaborations to make people more at ease in such complex discussions and to come up with concrete results. We have also developed a center of excellence with the Ministry of Finance, with Omani citizens working on 5G and IoT projects. We have worked on lots of use cases in agriculture, sustainability, energy efficiency as well as other future-ready projects that are relevant to the development of Oman’s economy.

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