5G is a game changer for the telecom industry, says Etisalat Chief
Etisalat to invest AED 4 billion during 2019 in digital transformation, the mobile and fiber network
Bamatraf was the keynote speaker at ‘5G MENA 2019’ in Dubai that held high-level keynotes, 5G use-cases, onstage debates and interviews, executive CxO summits, a series of networking opportunities, an awards ceremony, a day-long Blockchain and IoT focused stream.
As part of his keynote, Bamatraf highlighted Etisalat’s continuous investments and focus on enhancing and building one of the most advanced networks in the region having empowered digital transformation and opening up opportunities to engage with our customers in new ways. Etisalat plans to invest AED4 billion during 2019 in digital transformation, mobile and fiber networks.
“Innovation was always at the core of our strategy to ‘Drive the digital future to empower societies’ putting our efforts on providing innovative solutions enabling connectivity, mobility, connected devices, energy efficiency, lower latencies and more reliability.” Bamatraf added.
Bamatraf reflected the successful journey of Etisalat setting a benchmark for the telecom industry. The major milestone for Etisalat and the telecom industry was the launch of the first commercial 5G wireless network in May 2018 in the UAE becoming the first telecom operator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to achieve this technological breakthrough 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.
He added that Etisalat’s network will also 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.
Etisalat’s technical teams are building 5G network sites to make this a reality and enable 5G coverage across the country. Bamatraf explained to the audience, he said: “Etisalat’s network and infrastructure will be ready to provide the service as soon as the 5G mobile handsets are available in UAE. We are aiming to build 1000 5G towers across the UAE during 2019 to enable 5G coverage.
”We have started 5G planning across Etisalat Group footprint. In KSA, we started 5G trials since last year. Our commercial 5G plans gained big momentum when the KSA government released new spectrum in 2.6 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands this year.”
He added: “We believe that 5G can be a good substitute for fibre for fixed services in our emerging markets footprint. In that regard, we have started evaluating the technical and commercial viability of 5G for FWA (Fixed wireless Access) in some of our markets. These evaluations will help us in developing a road map for commercial FWA rollout in selected markets.”