UAE set to become world's first nation to roll out 5G network

A senior official of UAE telecom operator Etisalat has said that the UAE is set to lead the world into the future by becoming the first country to see a nation-wide rollout of the 5G network in time for the Expo 2020 exhibition.

“We are ready to take the big leap into the future of the telecom industry with the UAE becoming the world’s first nation to roll out the 5G network,” Ahmad Julfar, CEO of Etisalat Group, said yesterday.

He made these comments at the GSMA Mobile 360 – Middle East conference on ‘Building Connected Societies’.

Julfar confirmed that Etisalat is in official discussions to transform the Expo 2020 site as the first and smartest district of the future. He added that the operator has the extensive ICT expertise and digital value proposition to provide end-to-end, scalable and innovative infrastructure that will help achieve the leadership’s vision to host the ‘best Expo that the world has witnessed.’

The proposed smart transformation of the Expo 2020 site, Julfar said, will build on Etisalat’s plans to introduce the 5G mobile network in the UAE, just in time to host the 25 million visitors expected to visit the expo.

Equidistant between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the Expo Dubai site will be serviced by three international airports and a world-class road and transport system to ensure ease of access and seamless operations for both participants and visitors.

The Expo in Dubai deserves a world-class telecom system which will enhance visitor experience and position the UAE as the best in the world, he said.

Julfar said this will also help accomplish the goals of the UAE Vision 2021 to rank the nation first globally in the overall ICT infrastructure, Online Services Index and the Network Readiness Index as the UAE celebrates its 50th year of formation in 2021.

He added that the UAE has set clearly defined objectives and created a world-class telecom infrastructure that is well ahead of any other country in the region. “The introduction of the 5G network will significantly enhance the standard of government service delivery and bring unmatched value to industry and the public.”

Julfar said that the opportunity for growth and expansion, particularly in the emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and Asia, are tremendous. “Three key factors will catalyse the growth of the telecom sector: The low penetration levels in the fast-growing markets of Asia and Africa; the youth demographic in these markets; and the power of the telecom sector to leapfrog development and move entire communities to enjoy the benefits of the latest ICT technologies without carrying the burden of legacy systems.”

He noted said that the telecom industry has evolved from serving as an enabler of growth to setting the agenda for human progress and development by opening doors to the digital economy.

“A 10 per cent growth in broadband penetration can bring up to 1.2 per cent additional growth in GDP. Within the next 10 years, ICT-related activity will account for over 50 per cent of the world’s growth adding trillions of dollars of economic benefit,” Julfar concluded.