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Telecom Review conducted an exclusive interview with Dr. Ayman Elnashar, vice president and head- technology architecture, research and development at du, to discuss further the topic of emerging technologies and the key elements to accomplish innovation and digital transformation, as well as how du helped businesses to renovate their networks.

Could you please elaborate more on du’s cloud transformation journey?

We have started the journey back in the 2016 by consolidating the infrastructure for IT and network. We have modernized our private cloud that hosts the majority of IT workload and some network workload by installing a hybrid cloud management platform so we can provide the IaaS and PaaS. Today, the hybrid cloud management platform with public cloud integration so we can provide hybrid hosting for either on-prem, or public cloud or hybrid cloud as well.

On the other side, du has introduced a horizontal telco cloud based on Openstack. We are hosting right now our network workloads on the same telco cloud platform. More recently the company has also introduced a containers platform that will host the 5G SA so it can move from one monolithic applications to microservices and it can offer service-based architecture to our customers using network slicing that will be introduced with 5G SA.

What is the current status of your 5G network and your roadmap towards 5G SA?

du has started its journey of 5G back in the 2015, by establishing UAE 5G innovation gate (U5GIG), and today we have 20 partners to bridge the gap between industry and academia and to focus on developing customized use cases for the UAE market. Also, du has the vision from the beginning that 5G is not only about speed. Since then, the team has been working with all the partners to develop customized use cases based on 5G. We were the first in the region to launch 5G in May 2019. du is working now towards evolving this network into the 5G SA.

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