Etisalat prepares to offer customers ultra-fast 5G network

Telecom operator says it will start with fixed services in selected areas before national roll-out based on demand

Robot "Pepper" welcomes guests arriving for the opening of the Vodafone 5G Lab in Duesseldorf, western Germany, on May 9, 2018.
At the lab, all devices able to be run under the 5th generation wireless systems (5G wireless network technology) will be tested for the network of mobile telecommunications operator Vodafone. / AFP PHOTO / dpa / Federico Gambarini / Germany OUT

Etisalat has announced the launch of the first commercial 5G network, the next generation of ultra-high speed internet services.

The company claims it will be the first telecom service in the world to provide 5G, though it will be fixed wireless services at selected locations rather than free-to-roam services.

Saleh Al Abdooli, the CEO of Etisalat, described the announcement as “historic” calling 5G “game changer with rich potential, an evolution that would elevate services, performance, and enablement".

Fixed devices and services will be available from September with the service gradually extended across the UAE, Etisalat says "depending on consumer demand and requirements".

5G provides far higher connection speeds that current 4G networks, and is being introduced to deal with the upsurge in data resulting for a huge increase in devices carrying data and the so-called 'Internet of Things' - every day devices that are online.

Most countries have said they will update their networks to 5G in 2019 or 2020.

In March, Etisalat said it would begin upgrading its mobile networks for three months in preparation for the roll-out, which it said may mean disruption for users.

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Etisalat warns customers could face service interruption during 5G upgrade

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