Provided by Two Telecom Operators, 5G Networks in the UAE Have Made Significant Progress

Published December 10th, 2020 - 04:00 GMT
Provided by Two Telecom Operators, 5G Networks in the UAE Have Made Significant Progress
Etisalat was the first MENA telecom company to launch a commercial 5G network that offers stable wireless connections in 2018. (Shutterstock: Dan Rentea)

Being one of the world's leading countries in terms of digital transformation, the UAE has already reached several remarkable milestones in terms of laying the ground for 5G networks, but when will it be available for everyday use?

In May 2018, state-owned Etisalat was the first MENA telecom company to launch a commercial 5G network that offers stable wireless connections. A year later, it was also the first to grant its customers the opportunity to try the speed of 5G networks. Moreover, Etisalat has been able to provide a selected number of building with indoor 5G coverage. However, the UAE is still developing its 5G infrastructure.

In a recent study that meant to trace excitement for 5G networks in a number of nations around the world, the UAE came in the first place, with about 47% of its citizens expressing enthusiasm over enjoying speedy connections, which is much higher than anywhere else in the world, where conspiracy theories have affected people's views on the new technology.

Over the last several years, the world has been thrilled to experience increasingly fast internet connections, with the transformation from as slow as molasses dial-up noisy connections, to more stable relatively fast ADSL ones, before smartphones inspired wireless connections, the ones we mostly know as third and fourth generations.

Yet, the 5G speed promises a revolutionary evolution in speed and capacity, one that will change our internet consumption habits. Ultra-speedy 5G internet will not only allow hours of lightening-speed cloud-based gaming experiences, the ability to download 4K videos in a matter of a few seconds, enhanced virtual and augmented reality experiences, but it will also pave the way for humanity to have self-driving cars, ones that can have the constant, uninterrupted access to second-by-second communication with other vehicles on the road, in addition to other aspects that will be available in smart cities.

In the UAE, Etisalat has been partnering with Huawei and Ericsson to develop its own network, while its local rival, Du, has been working hard with Huawei and Nokia to set the groundwork for 5G networks, with both companies assuring their customers that US sanctions on the Chinese giant Huawei will not hinder their progress or affect the pace of their work.

For over a year now, the US has repeatedly attacked Huawei, a major developer of 5G technology, and expressed concerns over the possibility of Huawei offering intelligence exchanged over 5G networks to the Chinese government.

According to a 2019 Reuters report, Du has expected that it will have about 800 5G infrastructure sites ready before 2021.

Have you tried the 5G internet yet? If yes, how much, do you think, will it change your daily life? 


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