Etisalat launches first commercial 5G network in MENA

Etisalat launches first commercial 5G network in MENA
Published: 15 May 2018 - 4:17 a.m.
By: Georgina Enzer

Etisalat has launched its commercial 5G wireless network in the UAE becoming the first telecom operator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to achieve this technological milestone and set an industry benchmark, according to Etisalat.

According to a press release from Etisalat, the operator will be 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.

The foundation of this commercial launch was laid in December last year, where Etisalat was one of the operators globally to launch a pre-commercial 5G network in certain areas of the country demonstrating high-speed use cases in addition to the low latency feature of the 5G technology. Etisalat also demonstrated an advanced 5G based drone equipped with a 360-degree VR camera and 4K streaming experience.

In the first phase of the launch, 5G fixed wireless services (fixed and internet services) will be provided in selected locations in UAE, which will gradually expand to other parts of the country depending on consumer demand and requirements. The commercial fixed devices and services will be available for consumers starting from September this year.

“Today’s announcement is a historic moment for the company as the commercial launch of the 5G network will set a milestone for the UAE. Etisalat today is the first telecom operator in the world to provide this ultra-high 5G C-band data speed as a commercial service over the wireless network,” said Saleh Al Abdooli, CEO, Etisalat Group applauded the efforts of the entire team. “5G stands out as a game changer with rich potential, an evolution that would elevate services, performance, and enablement. It is the natural progression as part of our network modernisation journey, the anticipated technical specifications are promising, bringing along various desirable features and functionalities.”

5G technology is a major enabler for the fourth industrial revolution and works in conjunction with 4G following the 3GPP (release 15 standard) providing faster data connectivity combined with higher speed. The larger bandwidth will provide the capability to handle larger number of connections in any geographical area.

With ultra-high speed and low latency services to the user 5G will enable users to enjoy uninterrupted 4K video streaming, best gaming experience, AR/VR services and autonomous transport. The 5G network will also empower government entities and the enterprise digital transformation, smart city development and the fourth industrial revolution.

Due to the higher bandwidth, more users and devices can be connected at the same time without any degradation to the desired experience.

5G opens new array of use cases with various quality requirements. The existing 5G network will offer one of the first Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) devices in the world and 5G enabled smartphones will be available by next year.

While launching the commercial network, Etisalat showcased downlink throughput more than 5Gbps on the site level and more than 1.5Gbps on the commercial CPE device.

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