Most countries are still struggling to launch a 5G network, however, one of the two UAE telecom service providers has now initiated a move to introduce the 6G network by 2030.

Du from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) and Huawei on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 5.5G strategic cooperation, marking a new phase of their long-standing partnership.

Under the deal, which was signed at Mobile World Congress Barcelona on Sunday, both the entities will strengthen cooperation in 5.5G innovation, including technological innovation and E2E network evolution. It will help du to enhance user experience and lead the UAE market in 5.5G development.

As one of the fastest-growing telecommunication operators in the UAE, du works closely with Huawei and has outstanding performance in 5G network experience and service development, capturing a large share of the Middle East market.

Du and Huawei will collaborate on 5.5G in three aspects, according to the MoU.

For innovation, they will focus on key technologies, including extremely large antenna array massive Mimo (ELAA-MM), passive IoT, virtual large carrier among others, and discuss exchange to exchange (E2E) network evolution roadmap.

In terms of application exploration, they will conduct research on new scenarios and identify potential applications based on local requirements, such as metaverse, holographic meeting, XR.

In ecosystem construction, they will work together with local and global industry partners to build a sound 5.5G ecosystem and promote multilateral business success.

Saleem Al Blooshi, CTO of du, saidu is committed to working with industry leaders around the world to create new solutions that help us stay at the forefront of digital innovation.

“In line with the UAE's Metaverse strategy, our partnership with Huawei will enable du to achieve our goal of making 5.5G technology available for commercial use, and together we can create immersive XR experiences for users that are high-quality and reliable,” Al Blooshi said.

"Our goal is to create an ecosystem in which every aspect of life can benefit from the unique features that 5.5G technology has to offer, ranging from improved connectivity and faster speeds to full-scenario IoT and extensive coverage,” he said.

Cao Ming, president of Huawei Wireless Network Product Line, welcome the deal with du and said it would help improve network experience and build a digital and intelligent world.

"We're committed to long-term strategic cooperation with leading operators to provide innovative solutions based on user requirements,” he said.

“We will work with du on 5.5G innovation, explore and promote 5.5G technologies, and commercialise high-value use cases based on the local scenarios in UAE, to improve network experience and build a digital and intelligent world," he said.

5.5G, also called 5G-Advanced, is regarded as a bridge between 5G and 6G. 5.5G will provide enhancement to 5G, with the capabilities of 10 times speed and 10 times connections. For example, it will allow the speed of 10Gbps to be reached for any user.

There will also be three features of 5.5G, including Uplink Centric Broadband Communication (UCBC), Harmonised Communication and Sensing (HCS), and Real-time Broadband Communication (RTBC). The standard of new features are still under discussion in the 3GPP.

The 3GPP Release 18, which will give out specifications for 5G Advanced or 5.5G deployment, is likely to be finalised in first quarter of 2024. This will pave the way for the first 5.5G commercial deployments in 2024.


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