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Qatar’s Ooredoo signs AI deal with chipmaker Nvidia

Ooredoo ad in Doha. The company is investing $1bn to increase its data centre capacity Alamy via Reuters
Ooredoo ad in Doha. The company is investing $1bn to increase its data centre capacity
  • AI tech for 5 Mena countries
  • Signed at TM Forum in Copenhagen
  • AI-ready platform in development

US chipmaker Nvidia has signed a deal with Qatari telecommunications provider Ooredoo Group to bring its artificial intelligence technology to five countries in the Middle East, the companies announced on Sunday. 

Ooredoo will be the first company in the region to offer direct access to Nvidia’s AI and computer chips to its customers in Qatar, Algeria, Tunisia, Oman, Kuwait and the Maldives.

The deal was signed on the sidelines of the TM Forum, a global meeting of telecom and tech companies in Copenhagen on June 19. 

Financial details have not been disclosed. 

Ooredoo is building an AI-ready platform using Nvidia’s technology that will allow businesses to deploy generative AI applications and services.

Businesses will also be able to establish local clouds, facilitating the development of local AI ecosystems and applications and reinforcing data security.

The agreement is Nvidia’s first large-scale deal in a region where the US has imposed export restrictions to prevent Chinese companies from acquiring advanced semiconductors through Middle Eastern countries.

“Our B2B clients will have access to services that probably their competitors [won’t] for another 18 to 24 months,” Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo, Ooredoo’s CEO, told Reuters in an interview.

The company declined to disclose exactly what type of Nvidia technology it would install in its data centres, saying it would depend on customer demand and availability.

The company is investing $1 billion to increase its data centre capacity from 40 megawatts to 60-65 megawatts. 

Ooredoo also intends to triple its data centre capacity by the end of the decade, Fakhroo said.

Last week Nvidia briefly surpassed Apple and Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable company, with a market capitalisation of $3.34 trillion. 

Demand for its AI chips has driven the company’s shares up 180 percent so far this year. Shares have risen 200 percent in the past 12 months.

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