Etisalat plans to cover all of the UAE with 5G infrastructure to roll out the next generation network to customers as soon as handsets become available, the company has announced.
In the first half of 2019, the UAE's largest telecom operator (telco) will construct 300 5G towers while developing 600 5G sites over the rest of the year.
With 5G phones from manufacturers expected in 2020, the telco is aiming for its "network and infrastructure to be ready to provide the service as soon as the 5G mobile handsets are available in UAE," according to Saeed Al Zarouni, senior vice president, mobile networks, Etisalat.
The fifth generation of mobile network technology, 5G will have a dramatic impact on network communications.
Over 10 times faster than 4G networks, the technology promises to carry data, voice, and critical communication all on one network, something that has been constrained by capacity, bandwidth and latency limitations of current networks.
"The 5G network will also empower government entities and the enterprise digital transformation, smart city development and the fourth industrial revolution," said Zarouni.
Etisalat tested the first live 5G network in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia last year at the Expo 2020 Dubai site.
With a speed of 1.5gbps, the live network is currently 2.5 times faster than average 4G networks in the region. Etisalat expects 5G's eventual bandwidth to have a capacity of 4.5 gbps.