UAE Aims to be First With Nationwide 5G in 2020

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is throwing its hat into the 5G ring, claiming that it will be the first country to deploy the future wireless technology nationwide.

"We are ready to take the big leap into the future of the telecom industry with the UAE becoming the world's first nation to roll out the 5G network," Ahmad Julfar, CEO of Etisalat , said this week at a GSM Association (GSMA) event in Dubai.

The nationwide deployment of the 5G network will be hung around the Expo 2020 event in Dubai, which starts in October 2020. Etisalat has a 5G development deal in place with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC).

For more on 5G, visit the dedicated 5G section here on Light Reading.

The 5G specification hasn't yet been set in stone, but the end result is expected to be a wireless system that's tens of times faster than current 4G networks, offering gigabit-per-second download speeds over the air. For the consumer, this would mean that an HD movie could be downloaded to a compatible 5G smartphone. (See Ericsson CTO: Artificial Intelligence Will Make 5G Smarter.)

All of this is at least a few years in the future, but that isn't stopping Asian and other operators from racing to be the first with some kind of 5G deployment. NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) is plotting a 5G deployment for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in July 2020. SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) in South Korea is also eyeing a 2020 timeframe for initial deployments. (See SK Telecom: Small Cells Key to 5G and Getting Massive at DoCoMo's 5G Lab.)

Recently, Verizon Wireless has become very aggressive on its 5G timeline. The US operator is plotting 5G field trials in 2016, and there have even suggestions of initial deployments in 2017, which could happen before 5G proofs-of-concept are completed (See Verizon & Partners to Field Test 5G in 2016.)

Not all US carriers are so bullish though: Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) suggested that 5G will arrive after 2020 in the US in a recent presentation. (See Sprint: 5G in the US After 2020?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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Kruz 10/29/2015 | 7:33:08 PM
Re: UAE and USA 2020 is the year when Dubai will be launching the expo 2020, the biggest airport in the world(its second) and a 5G to go with it. Though its a small country(relying less and less on oil but rather on services), moving to 5G will not be an easy task based on what we saw with the current 3G as  the current coverage and the data speed are not among the best in the region
Kruz 10/29/2015 | 7:28:51 PM
Re: UAE and USA Just a small clarification, VOIP is only banned on 3G, and not WIFI, and for selected OTTs. Skype for instance will always work while Whatsapp and Viber wont.
kq4ym 10/28/2015 | 11:25:49 AM
Re: UAE and USA If anyone could make 5G possible nationwide in five years it would be the UAE. With lots of oil cash and a fairly small geographic are (especially where the people actually live) it's not hard to imagine the project's success. And to cooincide with a 2020 huge event what better publicity could they ask for.
nasimson 10/28/2015 | 12:04:42 AM
Re: UAE and USA @Ariella: The philos article you've pointed to is really eye opener. It shows the harsh realities behind facade of malls, tall buildings and glamor.
nasimson 10/27/2015 | 9:22:53 AM
Re: UAE and USA @sowen: Speaking of VOIP calls, the oligopoly of Etisalat and Du has gotten the VOIP calls banned in UAE. So a labourer is forced to spend $$$ to make an overseas call back home. Can message through What's App, but can't use it to make voice calls.
mendyk 10/22/2015 | 2:50:51 PM
Re: UAE and USA I think it's spelled Oman.
DanJones 10/22/2015 | 2:14:41 PM
Re: UAE and USA Oh man!
sowen557 10/22/2015 | 12:19:09 PM
Re: UAE and USA Even today's indentured servants will still want to make VoIP calls back to their loved ones over a Smart "ish" Chinese made handset.  Every little bit helps when trying to pay off your debits to get out of your modern slavery predicaments.
mendyk 10/22/2015 | 11:39:53 AM
Re: UAE and USA The second one.
Ariella 10/22/2015 | 11:37:31 AM
Re: UAE and USA "almost-proud alumnus" @MendyK? You mean you are nearly an alumnus or not quite proud?
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