Etisalat launches 4G technology

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Etisalat launches 4G technology

ABU DHABI — Data downloads will be more faster, efficient and cost-effective from now on in the UAE as Emirates Telecommunication Corporation, or etisalat, has introduced the 4G mobile broadband network, a latest technology that will improve “digital lifestyles.”

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Mon 26 Sep 2011, 9:59 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:07 AM

The 4G technology would soon be available to customers in the UAE, and an announcement regarding its commercial launch will be made in a month’s time, which would be yet another first for the telecommunication company that has to its credit the introduction of the many technologies in the region, ahead of its peers.

Interestingly, the technology has been introduced ahead of the commercial launch in devices which will be required to use it.

At a Press conference, etisalat acting chief executive officer Nasser bin Obood said to make this happen, the telco invested Dh6 billion in LTE and fibre-optic network, as part of a strategy that would boost e-Government and increase the use of broadband in fast growing sectors of economy like education, finance, healthcare and others.

He said that more than 600 base stations have been renovated and equipped to provide this technology in the country, covering 70 per cent of urban centres. Integrated with the fibre-optic network, the service can download a 90-minute movie in less than three minutes.

This super-fast speed means it offers tremendous potentials in terms of fixed Internet services, offering speeds of up to 100MB/s, advanced high-definition TV services and a fixed landline, he added. About the significance of the new offering, etisalat chief marketing officer Matthew Willsher said there has been a tremendous surge in both subscriber numbers and data usage in recent times.

“Smartphones are growing at almost 90 per cent a year. A whole new computing platform for mobile broadband has emerged, creating a thriving market for mobile applications and changing the way we interact with the Internet.” LTE technology will deliver customers the dual benefits of super fast data speeds and much lower latency. “It is a transformational force that will improve the digital lifestyles of our customers,” Willsher added.

Asked about how much cost effective it would be, the CMO said that etisalat’s mobile data tariffs range from as low as Dh29 to a maximum of Dh449 per month allowing from 100MB/s to 20GB download capacity.

“So, expect tariffs in the similar region,” he told Khaleej Times.

However, it would not be an automatic upgrade from 3G, and to subscribe to it, he said customers would need to apply. To enable this technology, customers would need to purchase a device and etisalat would hook it up with its system. Asked about whether the new offering would offset etisalat’s lost earnings with the arrival of competition in the domestic market, Willsher said: “in the short term, the revenues will be smaller,” as it takes time to launch a new technology. However, he was of the view that the telecommunication firm has seen a significant growth in revenues from mobile data business, details of which will be shared in the third quarter financial numbers.

He was confident that revenues from the mobile data products will increase and “the rate of increase as well.”

Willsher expected that LTE tablets, USBs and other devices would be offered in the market by the first quarter of next year. On losing market share, Willsher was of the view that it’s not just 4G that will win it back: “I think, its improvement, we are making through our value proposition, new value proposition being launched in multiple areas not only in mobile data.” Last week’s launch of a new prepaid plan will be very competitive, he said. He was confident that etisalat’s competitiveness is “improving.”

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