5G to bring new dimension to digital transformation: du CEO

du is showcasing new 5G-powered innovations that drive public sector digital transformation and infrastructure enhancements nationwide
du is showcasing new 5G-powered innovations that drive public sector digital transformation and infrastructure enhancements nationwide

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Sun 17 Oct 2021, 3:55 PM

The 5G network in the UAE brings a “completely new dimension” to all the digital use cases that are currently being deployed across various industries, said Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO of du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC).

Speaking to Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview on the opening day of Gitex Technology Week 2021, Al Hassawi highlighted how du has become firmly established as an integral digital transformation influencer through a simplified approach. He also shared details on du’s participation at this year’s event and how 5G technology is being utilised across the industry.

“We provide our capabilities to the government, enterprises, and international companies that are operating in the UAE, and this is what creates the digital economy,” he said. “Our participation this year is under the theme of technology being made by humans, because we want to remind people that, at the end of the day, no matter how the technology evolves and grows, it is the human element that makes it happen, connects the dots, and creates use cases.”

Du’s participation at this year’s event is also important as it sheds light on its future public sector contributions, including those that enable humanity, empower people, build better communities, and support the National Agenda and other strategic roadmaps such as UAE Digital Government Strategy 2025.

“Today, we have 90 per cent nationwide coverage of 5G,” Al Hassawi said. “In some of the cities like Dubai, we are touching 97 per cent, while in Abu Dhabi we are at 96 per cent. We have managed to score the fastest 5G network in the UAE for the last six months. 5G brings a completely new level of dedicated capacity to our customers, and a new level of latency and responsiveness of the network to enable use cases that were not possible previously.”

When looking at the smart city vision, he said that it was important for du to look at use cases that were already live and tested in other parts of the world, before exploring how they can be adapted to the UAE. “In terms of priorities, it all rests with how well our partners understand the capabilities of 5G. There is no sector where 5G will not be a key factor. Already, we are seeing it being adopted in use cases in sectors such as mining, agriculture and transportation. 5G will also be the main infrastructure for autonomous cars. We are already working very closely with our partners to provide the foundation for when this will happen.”

It is also important for du to work with startups that “think outside of the box”, he added. “Startups can use 5G to come up with a new business model, and we are willing to work with any startup depending on the business model that they come up with. Data is the new oil but it requires a focus on the human element. This is what smart cities are all about, they require collaboration, because data from a single entity alone is not enough.”

Asked what he is most excited about when it comes to the UAE’s smart city vision, he pointed to all the “unknown possibilities”.

“There is a lot to discover, a lot to be surprised by, and all the possible collaborations,” he said. “5G brings this need to collaborate and challenge the existing business model, and this is something very exciting for everyone.”


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