Etisalat is set to invest AED4 billion in network upgrade in 2019, according to a senior executive.
"The upgrade will cover the company's mobile phone and fiber optic networks, along with infrastructure development as well as Etisalat's G5 network," Dr. Ahmed bin Ali, Senior Vice President Corporate Communication, told the Emirates News Agency, WAM, on Thursday.
"Etisalat embarked on its 5G journey in 2014 and last year the first commercial 5G wireless network in the UAE was launched with speeds as much as 20 times faster than 4G," Ali added on the sidelines of a technology roadshow hosted by Etisalat in cooperation with Ericsson.
The roadshow showcased emerging 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) trends, updated technologies, Artificial Intelligence and automation.
As the leading telecom group in emerging markets, Etisalat has set a new benchmark in the telecom industry. It became the first operator to launch the first commercial 5G wireless network in MENA in 2018; the first operator in the Middle East and North Africa, MENA, to offer the first available 5G device for consumers to experience 5G; and the first mobile operator in MENA to provide 5G coverage inside an international airport.
The roadshow titled 'Barcelona Unboxed’ highlighted the latest technologies showcased in Ericsson’s hall during the Mobile World Congress 2019 held early this year. The roadshow held at Etisalat’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday and Thursday offered the visitors an opportunity to interact with global experts, experience path-breaking demos and attend in-depth seminars.
The showcase of 5G and the IoT technologies included a wide range of demos that redefined user experience. MusiConnect enabled a musical band to virtually play along, making it possible for musicians to perform and practice in real time despite being geographically separated, while the hologram communication highlighted how humans would communicate in the future using 5G technology.
Saeed Al Zarouni, Senior Vice President, Mobile Network at Etisalat, said, "5G is now a reality due to Etisalat’s continuous efforts in building and investing in future networks to enable innovation, and accelerating digital transformation. We are pleased to have partnered with Ericsson to provide a platform for UAE residents to experience 5G and IoT innovation firsthand and to meet experts discussing the latest trends and technologies shaping the Information and Communications Technology, ICT, industry today and in the future. This is in line with our strategy to ‘Drive the Digital Future to empower societies’,"he said.
Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Market Area Middle East & Africa at Ericsson, said, "In line with our continuous effort to support the UAE’s digital agenda, we are collaborating with our long-standing partner Etisalat, making 5G a reality in UAE and the region."
Etisalat is expanding 5G network sites to enable 5G coverage across the UAE. With 5G technology, consumers will witness unprecedented network speed and low latency enabling users to enjoy uninterrupted high-speed and high-resolution 4K videos, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, AR/VR, services, cloud gaming and much more.
‘Barcelona Unboxed’ also featured 5G football VR, MediaKind Live Sports Delivery in 360VR, a city model, and an Industry 4.0 demo.