(A change was made to the number of countries Etisalat operates in)
Etisalat plans to introduce 5G technology that will enhance internet speed and image resolution in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by the end of this year, senior vice president for mobile network at Etisalat in the UAE, Saeed Al Zarouni, told reporters on Tuesday.
“In May, we announced that we have a commercial network in the UAE. However, we are waiting for the CPE (Customer Premises Equipment, which customers need to be able to use the technology for TV and internet services at their homes or businesses) to arrive to deploy to customers,” Al Zarouni said.
He said that 5G would be available in the market for homes and businesses “in the UAE by the end of the year” and “on the handset (mobile phones) by the second half of next year.”
Al Zarouni later told Zawya that the new 5G service will be available for residential and business properties in the UAE as part of their current TV and internet packages and that consumers would not be charged any extra money for the new service.
However, he said the network upgrade will not be available in all areas covered by Etisalat in the UAE at once, but that the service will be integrated gradually. He added that more details about the areas and timeline would be announced later.
When asked about the UAE-based telecom company’s plans with regards to expanding the 5G network to the other countries in which it is present, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Afghanistan, Al Zarouni said the decision would be based on market demand.
Al Zarouni said Etisalat serves 16 countries and "based on the demand, we will see which country we will…expand our service (to) but we will start with the UAE first”.
Al Zarouni’s comments were made during a media roundtable event held by the Expo 2020 organising committee to announce the integration of 5G technology into some of the Expo 2020 site’s services. However, Expo officials did not reveal how exactly the technology would be implemented and said that more details would be announced at later stages.
(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh; Editing by Michael Fahy)
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