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For the first time, globally, stc Group (stc) has deployed an AI-powered operations system on its network using Nokia’s MantaRay Self-Organizing Network (SON), an AI-powered operations system that automates network optimization.

Nokia’s MantaRay SON is an industry-leading network optimization and automation platform that uses self-configuring AI-powered modules to boost network performance and efficiency. MantaRay SON offers modules that can be built and deployed for specific software applications to address unique operational challenges.

Expressing satisfaction with the project, Mikko Lavanti, Head of MEA at Nokia stated, “Through our collaboration with stc Group, Nokia is transforming telecoms network infrastructure with the integration of artificial intelligence. Our MantaRay Cognitive SON solution, equipped with sophisticated AI algorithms, represents a quantum leap in network optimization—a global first in its deployment by stc Group. This AI-driven innovation has redefined standards for network performance, ensuring robust and consistent service for customers even during peak usage periods.”

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AI Solution Utilized During Hajj

The MantaRay SON solution was utilized for the first time on stc’s network infrastructure during the Hajj season, enabling over one million pilgrims to stay seamlessly connected. Similarly, this marked Nokia’s first-ever successful deployment of the cognitive, AI-powered module on a live network.

stc Group worked with Nokia to design the bespoke algorithm for Hajj, allowing for autonomous network optimization in 15-minute intervals. 

stc’s network showed significant enhancements as a result of the customized AI-powered MantaRay SON system. Over 10,000 actions were processed during the live network implementation, which indicated an increased utilization rate of approximately 30% on loaded cells and 10% average improvement on user throughput. Despite traffic increasing by 40%, stc’s network successfully maintained consistent connectivity. This successful operation reduced manual work, improved network quality, and paved the way for the future of AI automation in telecommunications infrastructure.

Also Read: stc's Journey: Pioneering Innovations in Telecom with 5G Advancement

A New Era of AI in Telecom

Commenting on the success of the AI-powered network operations, stc Group’s Chief Technology Officer, Haithem Al Faraj, remarked, "stc and Nokia are pioneering a new era where artificial intelligence revolutionizes the telecom industry. This technology not only minimizes human error and improves quality but also allows networks to operate autonomously and efficiently, while humans remain essential in guiding and maximizing the outcomes from machine learning."

The development of an AI-powered network module expands stc’s suite of generative AI (GenAI) solutions. It offers a wide range of AI-driven capabilities that are driving digital transformation and sustainable growth. This sustainability is evident in stc’s energy efficient programs, which resulted in a 13% reduction in energy consumption across its 4G and 5G networks in 2023. By 2025, stc’s AI-powered products will be present across 200+ systems, saving the organization approximately SAR 2 million annually.

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