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August 22, 2019

Here’s how 5G could transform life in the United Arab Emirates: CTO of du

By ITU News

ITU News recently caught up with Saleem AlBlooshi, Chief Technology Officer of du, the Dubai-based telecommunications operator, to get his thoughts on what opportunities 5G offers for du — and for the people of the United Arab Emirates.

What are the biggest opportunities that 5G presents for du?

5G presents a new era for transforming the consumer, enterprise, and government segments.

What this means is that du is in a unique position to leverage its dynamic network to empower these customers, especially as we move away from our core business.

As new technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data analytics, and use cases come to life, 5G will enable du to power a hyper-connected future and facilitate the growth of the UAE’s enterprises, as well as drive the smart city vision to fruition.

Beyond much higher mobile broadband speeds, what are the new types of services that UAE residents will enjoy in the 5G era? How will these improve people’s lives?

The 5G benefit will enable our consumer segment to enjoy an enriched connectivity experience.

While higher speeds and lower latency will bring big breakthroughs for their everyday lives through an enhanced network service, it is the contextual examples that bring 5G’s benefits to life.

“The UAE has a strong agenda for innovation and digital transformation, and we place ourselves at the front of leading this evolution.”

For example, Netflix streaming at home or on the go with 5G will enable customers to enjoy uninterrupted entertainment experiences, and even power the 4K and 8K resolution evolutions.

The 5G value for consumers extends to improving their connected experience by bringing relief from urban network congestion.

With smartphone users’ data consumption expected to grow, 5G devices and networks are also expected to support their increased usage and appetite for new immersive experiences through Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

“The benefits of 5G are wide-ranging, but overall this next generation of cellular connectivity will have large flow-on benefits for society and for operators.”

Where does du see 5G making the most impact in terms of digital transformation in the UAE? Where will we see 5G enabling innovation in other industries?

The UAE has a strong agenda for innovation and digital transformation, and we place ourselves at the front of leading this evolution.

With 5G, this innovation will come in the form of creating new use cases and applications leveraging next generation connectivity.

As a telco, our services will evolve to augment the growth journeys of the UAE’s enterprises. This will ensure they can achieve business continuity and growth that will drive the future progress of the nation’s economic progress.

Dubai is known for its ambitious smart city strategy. What are du’s hopes for 5G’s contribution to IoT and smart city innovation?

du is the strategic partner for the smart city visions, so we are deeply committed to bringing this to life. What 5G adds to the existing IoT available technology is the very low latency.

“In the past, the global telco industry has been slow at responding to change. To overcome this, it is important to stay ahead of the game in order to avoid becoming stagnant.”

We expect 5G to complement the existing IoT networks’ potential and reveal a new era as more “delay-sensitive” sensors begin to relay data in realtime in the coming years.

We foresee that this will enable a new set of delay-sensitive smarter management of a vast array of city resources.

In terms of lessons learnt, what would be du’s advice to other operators introducing 5G, in both developed and developing countries?

At du, due to proper forward-looking planning, we have invested heavily in Fiber Backhauling to the mobile sites.

This has resulted in much smoother 5G deployment and commercial launch.

Furthermore, the benefits of 5G are wide-ranging, but overall this next generation of cellular connectivity will have large flow-on benefits for society and for operators.

In the past, the global telco industry has been slow at responding to change. To overcome this, it is important to stay ahead of the game in order to avoid becoming stagnant.

Saleem AlBlooshi joined du in 2008, filling a range of roles before assuming his current position in November 2017.

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Here's how 5G could transform life in the United Arab Emirates: CTO of du

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