Innovation remains at the heart of Etisalat
At Etisalat Group, innovation remains at the heart of what we do and we are committed to being proactive in delivering for our customers. The accelerated rate of high tech development is at the heart of the pursuit of 5G. The migration of the bulk of media output from traditional mediums to the digital landscape has resulted in significant demands on the ICT sector, and telcos in particular.
As video becomes almost entirely digital-driven, there will be an increased need for high-capacity data networks. Data already comprises 35 to 50 percent of the telecom industry, and mobile data traffic has grown 46 times in the past five years. Media is now more video-driven than ever before, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Video consumes massive amounts of bandwidth, and its increasing data requirements will demand that we telcos deliver. This of course, is again where 5G comes in.
Digital identity is another critical factor. A recent survey found that on average we each have 20 separate passwords to access a variety of websites from Gmail to Government services. While every service may be smart, unity and collaboration across these different services is not yet simple.
One of the biggest industry challenges is Big Data. The demand for data delivery is enormous and will continue to grow as societies seek to empower smart city initiatives and further establish the Internet of Things (IoT). This technology is essential, but it is not the driver and a lot of other things need to happen for these things to become a reality. This is a challenge that Etisalat Group is eager to meet.
The number one thing is to improve the connectivity or the quality and the speed. That is why Etisalat invested USD $680m in 2014 to bring 4G to its fullest potential in the UAE, and will do so for 5G. The concept of 5G will continue to evolve, but what we are certain of is that it is the key to establishing the capacity to keep pace with digitization of society, allowing IoT to truly flourish. It is partly about speed, but it is also about efficiency, intelligence, effective management, and boundless innovation.
“The key to success here will be Collaborative Value Creation”, Ahmad Julfar, Group CEO, Etisalat.
When Etisalat talks about 5G, we’re talking about more than just a faster network. 5G will be a comprehensive enabler, not only for telecommunications, but in every aspect of life. It will help revolutionize the world in a myriad of ways, far beyond the confines of our industry. The expansion of the Internet of Things further into everyday life, with countless activities and services migrating to the digital landscape, it has created a situation where we must continually provide the required bandwidth in order to maintain this progress. And develop a portfolio of services that is geared towards fostering improvements in education, healthcare, finance and many other essential areas.
Etisalat’s Group CEO, Mr. Ahmad Julfar, has repeatedly called for the advent of collaborative value addition. What this means is telcos and other digital platers working together, collaborating and cooperating. This not only allows us to more efficiently develop and implement new technologies effectively, but also results in better monetization of achievements, therefore making our efforts financially sustainable. This is the only way in which we can create a holistic, working relationship that reinvests in itself and spurs further growth and development. It is only with this approach that we will deliver the consistent innovation necessary to enable the digital revolution.
It is a technological revolution that requires strong international partnerships to develop both technologically and conceptually. Etisalat is working with a variety of partners to pave the path towards making 5G a reality. Together with our strategic partners Huawei, we are constructing a Joint Innovation Lab in the UAE.
The Lab follows a series of recent memorandum of understanding signed between Etisalat Group and Huawei to bring technology firsts to the region. The Lab’s mandate will be to explore and deploy super-speed 5G mobile broadband services in the region, as well as create a joint research and development framework to investigate how IoT applications can be adopted in various industries to enhance business efficiency and lead to smarter public services.
This sort of vigorous commitment to research and development is vital to keeping pace with the demands of the digital future. At Etisalat we take 5G very seriously, and we are proud of the work we are already doing with partners like Huawei, and Etisalat Group is working to be the first telco in the Middle East to roll out 5G for commercial use. As an innovator, and in line with our aspirations and goals, it will be a heavy focus in the years to come.
We all know that 5G is the future of telecommunications; in reality, however, 5G will revolutionize the world in a myriad of ways, far beyond the confines of our industry. The expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT) further and further into everyday life, with countless activities, services, educational tools etc. migrating to the digital landscape, has created the necessity for us as telcos to provide the necessary bandwidth to maintain this progress.
We have indeed crossed the Rubicon, and telcos need to be prepared. We must establish the capacity and the vision to handle the creative ideas that are emerging as the next milestones in our industry. These achievements will change the way we live our lives.
The expansion of the IoT, the rise of eGovernment, and the growing pervasiveness of M2M technology are developments that beg for dynamic solutions. At Etisalat, we’ve made it our central goal to provide the necessary bandwidth to make sure these projects are fully realized.
5G is not simply about speed. 5G is a comprehensive enabler. The future of the digital lifestyle depends on networks keeping pace with vision. Advances such as 3.9G and 4.5G provide a faster service, but do not deliver the revolution needed. Indeed, 5G is partly about speed; but it is also about efficiency, intelligence, effective management, and boundless innovation. It’s a game changer, both in the telecom industry, and in the world at large.
Nonetheless, we must not lose sight of the reality on the ground for many markets across the world. At Etisalat, as we know intimately well through our experiences in the 19 markets that comprise our Group, emerging markets are at different points in their ICT development. It is therefore vital that we continue to develop 4G LTE and deliver those gap-shortening stages that markets upgrading from capacities such as 3G and 4G – but aren’t yet ready for 5G –can utilize.
Etisalat’s goal has always been to deliver advancement specific to each individual market. While remaining on the cutting edge of the technological spectrum with 5G development, we must also remain attuned to whatever innovation looks like in each of the markets we operate in.
Given that we are still developing 5G conceptually as well as technologically, the GSMA’s guidance has been invaluable. Its core technical requirements for 5G create a concise and cohesive vision for guiding development. They also illustrate just how revolutionary 5G will be. Apart from targets for data rates and latency, the requirements do not deal with next-generation technology, but address the ways in which we will integrate this technology in to the wider world, and how we interact to achieve maximum success with existing technology.
What is clear here is that for 5G to reach its optimal potential, we will need not only purely technological advance, but broad cooperation between telcos, OTTs, governments, regulators, NGOs and other players in the digital ecosystem. We at Etisalat have been advocating for the building of these dynamic, innovative relationships for some time now. We must integrate and cooperate with others to mirror the integration that is occurring with the migration of so many experiences to the digital arena. 5G, the creation of smart cities, the growing pervasiveness of M2M at all levels – these are massive undertakings, with far-reaching implications. We must come together to deliver.
Etisalat will continue to position itself as a leader in the region in 5G development. We have already begun research and development programs in conjunction with international partners, such as Ericsson and Huawei, to remain at the forefront of this revolution. As the Group CEO Ahmed Julfar has pointed out before, the key to success here will be Collaborative Value Creation. We must to continue to strive for this across our industry and beyond it.