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5G: Ready, set and go in UAE

Filed on February 27, 2019 | Last updated on February 27, 2019 at 09.56 pm
A 5G display at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

(AFP)

Excerpts from an interview with Eng Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, group chief executive officer of Etisalat Group, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in which he speaks about their 5G journey and what the future holds for the UAE's telecoms industry.

The following are excerpts from an interview with Eng Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, group chief executive officer of Etisalat Group, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in which he speaks about their 5G journey and what the future holds for the UAE's telecoms industry.

We are stepping into an era, which marks the beginning of 'Intelligent Connectivity' underpinned by ubiquitous and hyper connectivity. This term is used to describe the powerful combination of flexible, high-speed 5G networks, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). This will have a significant and profound change on individuals, industries, society and the economy, transforming how we live and work.

Etisalat Group is at the heart of this evolution by taking great strides in the rollout of 5G networks. The focus at the Mobile World Congress this year will be engaging in discussions in the future of the network and at the same time expecting healthy debate on the new challenges and opportunities presented by the next generation of technologies.

Journey, achievements in 5G

5G is becoming a reality in the UAE; etisalat's pioneering efforts in 5G will enable subscribers to enjoy technologies blending physical and digital realms from AR and VR to IoT, AI, autonomous vehicles, advanced robotics, 3D printing, wearable tech and more.

Our continuous investments and focus on enhancing and building one of the most advanced networks in the region have empowered digital transformation opening up opportunities to engage with our customers in new ways. Etisalat plans to invest Dh4 billion during 2019 in digital transformation, mobile and fibre networks. 

5G: reality for next generation

Early in 2018, etisalat set global benchmarks in 5G in technology and on the network. Etisalat successfully conducted a 5G trial with outdoor mobility.

Another major milestone for etisalat and the telecom industry was the launch of the first commercial 5G wireless network in the UAE becoming the first telecom operator in the Mena to achieve this technological milestone and set an industry benchmark. Etisalat was the first operator to have a fully-developed commercial 5G network available to provide gigabit Internet services to its customers. The network will fuel enterprises digital transformation, IoT, smart cities and the fourth industrial revolution.

Etisalat's network will provide the most advanced digital and telecom services to Expo 2020 Dubai and its millions of visitors, supporting an expected 300,000 users on peak days. It will be a key component of the Expo 2020 'smart site', that will deliver a unique and memorable experience for the millions of visitors.

5G ready to roll

Etisalat is now ready to launch 5G service for all consumers with its infrastructure and network equipped to support all 5G devices set to be launched by global mobile device manufacturers in 2019. With continuous investments in technology and innovation on the network, etisalat's infrastructure can enable 5G connectivity today for all fixed devices expected to be launched in the first half of this year.

Etisalat's technical teams are building 5G network sites to enable 5G coverage across the country. With 5G technology consumers will witness unprecedented maximum speeds of 10Gbps.

Our network and infrastructure will be ready to provide the service as soon as 5G mobile handsets are available in the UAE. We are aiming to build 1,000 5G towers across the UAE during 2019 to enable 5G coverage.

With majority of 5G deployments to be implemented by 2020 on a global level, by the end of 2024 industry estimates indicate a projection of 1.5 billion 5G subscriptions accounting to 17 percent of all mobile subscriptions at that time. Etisalat foresees the future of connectivity and is already exploring use cases with new technologies and services that will blend our physical and digital world.


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