Nvidia signs partnership with Qatar’s Ooredoo amid US restrictions in the region

The company expands its AI chip offering to the Middle East through a new partnership with Qatar’s Ooredoo amid US export restrictions.

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Nvidia has signed a new partnership with Qatari telecom group Oreedoo to bring its AI technology to data centres in five Middle Eastern countries. Signed at the TM Forum in Copenhagen last week, the deal makes Ooredoo a Nvidia cloud partner (NCP) that will contribute significantly to enhancing AI capabilities in the region. 

Central to this partnership is Ooredoo’s plan to deploy thousands of Nvidia’s Tensor Core GPUs in its AI data centres. In a news release, the company said these GPUs are essential in providing advanced AI and machine learning services, including generative AI. This deployment is part of Ooredoo’s broader strategy to innovate and expand its technological infrastructure. The company has not disclosed the specific types of Nvidia technology that will be installed, although it says this will depend on availability and customer demand. 

Why is this important?

The question of whether these centres will receive the most or less advanced versions of Nvidia’s AI chips remains open in light of US export controls. Last year, US policies expanded restrictions on the export of sophisticated AI chips from Nvidia and AMD beyond China to include certain Middle Eastern countries. In response, Nvidia, AMD, and Intel have announced plans to develop less powerful AI chips that can be exported to restricted regions like China. In the absence of details given by the partners, it is unsure which AI-capable chips will be deployed in Ooredoo’s data centres. 

This partnership is part of Ooredoo’s larger strategic vision to transform into the region’s leading telecom and infrastructure holding company. The company’s CEO Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo said that a $1 billion investment will expand its data centre capacity from 40 to 60-65 megawatts, with the goal of tripling it by the end of the decade. In a region that is still determining its AI strategy, Ooredoo’s expansion is set to shape those same policies. As for Nvidia, this partnership means another region in which the company asserts its market dominance.