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Ooredoo & Etisalat Launch First 5G Commercial Networks in MENA
Telecom operators Ooredoo and Etisalat announced today the launch of their individual commercial 5G wireless networks, becoming the first operators in the region to achieve this technological milestone.
The first stage of Ooredoo’s 5G Supernet deployment will cover an area from The Pearl Qatar to Hamad International Airport, with Lagoona, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay, the Corniche, and Souq Waqif also included in the initial commercial launch coverage area.
As for Etisalat, the foundation of the commercial launch was laid in December last year, when Etisalat launched a pre-commercial 5G network in certain areas of the country demonstrating high-speed use cases in addition to the low latency feature of the 5G technology. Etisalat also demonstrated an advanced 5G based drone equipped with a 360-degree VR camera and 4K streaming experience.
The 5G services offer the latest network technology meaning much higher speeds, capacity, and better latency than existing cellular systems. The new networks will also bring advantages over the previous generations of cellular technology and will enable businesses and customers to unlock more of their potential and explore opportunities that were not possible before 5G.
With the deployment of the commercial 5G, Ooredoo is building upon an impressive number of earlier milestones that include the the first-in-the-region trials of 5G on Qatar National Day in 2016, the completion of 10 5G-ready base stations in May 2017, and the launch of the 5G Business services trial in partnership with Qatar Airways in November 2017.
Access to the Ooredoo 5G Supernet will require a 5G compatible device from Ooredoo, and will be expanded over the coming months to cover more areas of Qatar.
In the first phase of the launch by Etisalat, 5G fixed wireless services will be provided in select locations in the UAE, and will also gradually expand to other parts of the country depending on consumer demand and requirements. The commercial fixed devices and services will be available for consumers starting in September 2018.
The 5G network will fuel enterprises’ digital transformation, IoT, and smart cities and will be a major enabler for the fourth industrial revolution, working in conjunction with 4G following the 3GPP and providing faster data connectivity combined with higher speed. The larger bandwitch will provide the capability to handle larger numbers of connections in any geographical area.
With ultra-high speed and low latency services, 5G will enable users to enjoy uninterrupted 4K video streaming, the best gaming experience, AR/VR services, and autonomous transport. Moreover, due to the higher bandwidth, more users and devices can be connected at the same time without any degradation to the desired experience.