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Etisalat has proven its leadership in 5G over the past 2 years through numerous milestones that it has achieved ever since it launched 5G commercially in May 2018. At GITEX 2020, Etisalat demonstrated cutting-edge use cases functioning over its 5G network.

In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Saeed Al Zarooni, senior vice president - mobile network, Etisalat talked about the operator’s 5G journey thus far and what goals Etisalat aims to achieve in 2021.

At GITEX this year, Etisalat demonstrated new 5G use cases across different domains: retail, business, smart education, smart industry and smart healthcare. “Our presence showcases what 5G can provide to clients and businesses to enhance their productivity and profitability and ensure high quality services are offered to their customers,” Saeed Al Zarooni explained.

Last November, Ookla, the global leader in fixed broadband and mobile network testing applications, data and analysis recognized Etisalat for being the fastest mobile network operator worldwide in 2020 providing its subscribers the most superior experience with the fastest mobile speeds from anywhere in the world. This achievement proves Etisalat’s leadership in the region. In fact, the Emirati operator has always been at the forefront of innovation and has been a pioneer in digital transformation and 5G technology.

“Etisalat launched 5G commercially in May 2018. Since then, we embarked on the journey to expand our network in order to ensure the availability of 5G starting with the main cities. Today, we have more than 1500 sites deployed with around 36% populated coverage. We’re aiming to reach about 1700 sites by the end of year with around 40% populated coverage. Our 5G journey will continue in 2021,” Etisalat’s SVP for mobile network said.

Etisalat has ambitious goals planned out for the next year and the years to come. Based on the market penetration of 5G handsets and on the expected demand by the business sector, Etisalat aims to achieve a coverage of around 65% by end of 2021 along with the deployments of additional 1200 sites, according to Etisalat’s Saeed Al Zarooni. 

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