Du parent company to build 700 5G base stations in UAE by year-end

Next generation network 5G will be almost 10 times faster than 4G

EITC has announced its advanced readiness for 5G services in 2019. Courtesy: EITC
Powered by automated translation

Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, the parent company of Dubai operator Du, will set up more than 700 5G-enabled stations by the end of this year, the company said on Sunday.

These base stations, powered by network infrastructure and hardware, will be located across all seven emirates and they will be the first areas to have commercial 5G mobile network once compatible handsets are available this year, the company said.

"Offering a true 5G service requires an end-to-end upgrade for access," said Saleem Al Balooshi, chief infrastructure officer at EITC.

Customers will feel a real difference with 5G network in terms of higher speeds and lower latency – commonly known as "buffering", Mr Al Balooshi said.

Samsung last week announced its 5G-enabled smartphone will start selling in a few European markets in the second quarter. Other global mobile device manufacturers such as Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia are also expected to announce their 5G products in the coming months.

5G, which refers to fifth-generation wireless networks, will be almost 10 times faster than the 4G network. Its speed will enable real-time video streaming and better gaming experiences and augmented reality services, as well as safe autonomous transport.

According to US researcher Gartner, two-thirds of companies globally plan to install 5G by 2020.

Earlier this month, Etisalat, the UAE's biggest telecoms operator, said it planned to build 300 5G towers in the first half of the year while setting up 600 5G sites during the year.

Fourth-quarter profit for Du, the UAE's second-biggest telco, fell 18.3 per cent. The company expects to spend Dh1.3 billion to Dh1.4bn this year on capital expenditure, up from Dh1bn in 2018 as it works to roll-out 5G services.

Telecoms operators in the UAE stand to gain an additional $3.3 billion (Dh12.1bn) in revenues by 2026 from the digitisation of industries through 5G, according to a report from Swedish technology company Ericsson last year.