UAE ready to welcome 5G

UAE ready to welcome 5G

"Hang on, its buffering," and "oh great, I'm lagging again," are sentences that nobody wants to say or hear in today's fast paced world.

However, with the imminent arrival of 5G in the UAE, a time will come when these two sentences will be nothing more than a painful memory of the past, experts reassure.

5G is all about "ubiquitous computing", says Dr Ahmed bin Ali, senior vice president of corporate communication at Etisalat. What this means is that users will have the ability to access applications from any platform, anytime, and anywhere. It is the next step in the evolution of high-speed mobile broadband services, shaping the environment for growing the Internet of Things (IoT) and for smart cities to become a way of life for end users.

Etisalat completed the Mena region's first 5G mobile technology live trial during Gitex 2016; the trial offered a peak speed of 36 gigabytes per second. In the lead up to the deployment of 5G in the UAE by 2020, Etisalat aims to build an infrastructure that will be one of the smartest, fastest and the best for the global event.

"Our field test in October last year is a significant step in validating the performance of 5G in high frequency bands," said bin Ali. "It has refreshed Etisalat's understanding to the capabilities of the technology, which Etisalat believes will deliver capacity and connectivity beyond anything we've even come close to today. The new 5G network will help Etisalat cope with the massive digital content explosion anticipated in the next few years."

He elaborated that 5G technology provides benefits on both the device and the network for subscribers. The efficiency in the 5G network will allow lower consumption of energy than what is used in 4G networks. There will be more disruptive capabilities on the network and the service level, improving services in terms of capacity, accuracy, reliability, availability and simultaneous connectivity among many devices. There is longer battery life for 5G based sensing devices that also consume less energy.

5G deployments will positively affect virtually every industry sector, with manufacturing set to see the largest share of 5G-enabled economic activity in 2035, a new study has revealed. Commissioned by Qualcomm Technologies, the study titled 'The 5G Economy', examines the potential economic and social impact of 5G around the world. According to the study, in 2035, when 5G's full economic benefit should be realised across the globe, a broad range of industries - from retail to education, transportation to entertainment, and everything in between - could produce up to $12.3 trillion worth of goods and services enabled by 5G.

Manufacturing will account for almost $3.4 trillion or 28 per cent of the $12.3 trillion in sales enablement. The study also found that 5G is expected to create 22 million jobs by 2035. In addition, the 5G value chain will invest an average of $200 billion annually to continually expand and strengthen the 5G technology base within network and business application infrastructure.

"5G is definitely a new technology that will provide multiple use cases and will utilise a set of new technologies, including a new radio access technology, to cater for such use cases," noted Marwan BinShakar, vice president of mobile access network and operations at du.

However, he added that it is important to note that the 4G LTE will continue to evolve from today till beyond 2020 and will indeed be the main stream technology by 2020, until the introduction and commercialisation of the 5G at a later stage.

"Currently, we are at the stage of definition of technical performance requirements, evaluation criteria and methods, and submission templates. Next phase would be the submission of proposals for evaluation," BinShakar said. "At du, our experts have been working closely with all our technology partners, infrastructure vendors and standardization bodies to help shape, and clarify the 5G network requirements from now - especially from an operator perspective."

Last year, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) approved du's submitted contribution regarding 5G standardisation, titled 'Proposal to launch the 5G studies in SG13'. The contribution outlines du's research on the basic and most important requirements for the road to 5G, its current candidate technologies and architectures, and the concerns and issues that the telecommunications provider foresees with all the highlighted candidate technologies and architectures.

Du also recently announced the establishment of UAE 5G Innovation Gate (U5GIG), which has been envisioned to be a consortium of technical and academic organisations in the UAE, as well as global telecom vendors to plan and use their expertise to define and develop a global 5G network that will radically change lives across the UAE.

"We are taking the lead to build a UAE 5G Innovation Lab to prototype, test and validate early 5G and IoT equipment and services. U5GIG will also allow universities and technical organisations across the UAE to work together and participate in the development of the 5G ecosystem, and for academia and industry to test applications and technologies in a real-world setting," said BinShakar.

Published on 2017-02-15