Etisalat UAE, the nation's biggest telecoms provider and part of the newly rebranded e& conglomerate, and China's Huawei Technologies signed an agreement to launch the Middle East's first 5G Edge box, which will enable more seamless delivery of services to customers.
The deal follows the announcement of a successful test of a cloud-centric 5G Edge computing platform, which the Abu Dhabi-based telecoms operator aims to leverage for sustainable business growth in the B2B segment, the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
The agreement was signed at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona.
“The success of this testing activity will support UAE industries and the government sector in achieving their digital transformational objectives as we deploy a full suite of on-premise private 5G connectivity with inventive digital use cases requiring low latency and extreme reliability,” said Khalid Murshed, chief technology and information officer of Etisalat UAE.
Edge computing in the telecoms industry moves the computing of traffic and services from a centralised cloud to the edge of the network and closer to the customer, Juniper networks reported.
The main driving force for Edge technology is 5G, the present mobile communications standard. By 2025, 5G will be the “excessively used” access technology for multi-access edge computing (MEC) use cases at 100 per cent, followed by fixed Wi-Fi, which is expected to be “excessively” and “significantly” used at both 37 per cent, said MWC organisers the GSMA Association.
The “5G in a Box” concept, meanwhile, uses programmable hardware platforms and high-performance commodity computing servers to offer a generic and programmable platform for deployment at the edges of a 5G network, the University of Bristol said.
The cloud is also a key component for Edge computing. By 2025, 75 per cent of organisations will use cloud services, research firm Gartner said.
Dubai's Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company on Tuesday announced a similar preliminary agreement with Huawei at the MWC in which the two companies will collaborate to develop MEC that will help the operator, known as du, diversify its communications services.
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“Business transformation with a focus on creating synergies between network and the cloud is key to ensuring the sustainable growth of any service provider,” a Huawei representative said.
“Private 5G core and Edge with cloud-native architecture have great potential to empower a digital society and enrich the digital experience of customers.”
Etisalat UAE also said on Tuesday that it is extending its partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to address the growing demand for digitalisation in key economic industries, including oil and gas, manufacturing and logistics.
The e& unit and IT management arm of the world's biggest online marketplace will collaborate on building industry-specific solutions that offer low latency and high-performance computer services leveraging 5G private networks and mobile edge computing.
This will be applied across a large set of use cases, including interactive augmented and virtual reality, industrial automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
“This is also a great way to work on new use cases in oil and gas, manufacturing and logistics while boosting productivity, simplifying operations and innovating faster,” Mr Murshed said.
The joint effort is aimed at enabling Etisalat UAE's customers to simplify their operations, improve safety of employees and increase resiliency of their production. More use cases would be identified with AWS in the future, he added.
Last week, Etisalat announced its rebranding as e& as it seeks to transform into a global technology investment conglomerate.