Etisalat inks pact with Huawei for 5G roll out

UAE telco will build 300 5G towers in the first half of 2019

A 5G hotspot sign is displayed at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on February 25, 2019. Phone makers will focus on foldable screens and the introduction of blazing fast 5G wireless networks at the world's biggest mobile fair starting February 25 in Spain as they try to reverse a decline in sales of smartphones. / AFP / Josep LAGO

Etisalat, the UAE’s biggest telecom operator, has joined hands with Chinese tech giant Huawei to roll out 5G services across the country this year, the company announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

Earlier this month, Etisalat said it would build 300 5G towers in the first half of the year, providing the infrastructure and network to support all 5G-enabled devices launched by global mobile manufacturers.

“Huawei is committed to support Etisalat’s 5G digital transformation,” said Peng Xiongji, president of Huawei Etisalat global key account. "5G offers great potential for Etisalat to offer enriched broadband experiences, new services and explore new B2B markets".

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

“5G is considered a major enabler for the next generation of broadband service and the Internet of Things, which is growing exponentially due to the global adoption of connected devices,” said Saeed Al Zarouni, senior vice president of mobile networks at Etisalat.

Expo 2020 has become the first major commercial customer in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia to access 5G services through its partnership with Etisalat. The company's network will provide an advanced digital and telecom services to Expo 2020 and its millions of visitors, supporting an estimated 300,000 users on peak days.