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Etisalat beats rivals to the punch, releases first 5G service in MENA

The company has released one 5G-ready device, with more to come.

The company's first 5G-ready device is the ZTE Axon 10 Pro, of Chinese origin Etisalat customers with existing data plans will be able to use the 5G network at no extra cost 5G is at the heart of a larger strategy for Etisalat, one that encapsulates IoT, AI and more

Etisalat has now become the first telecom operator in the Middle East and North Africa region to offer a 5G network on 5G-enabled smartphones.

The company announced that as of Thursday of this week, customers are able to access 5G on ZTE Axon 10 Pro, the first available 5G device from Etisalat. The Axon 10 Pro is the first of many more 5G-ready devices to come from the telecom firm.

As per Etisalat, the new generation of cellular network technology will allow for lightning-fast download speeds up to 1Gbps, as well as a lower latency of around 1 millisecond. 5G is effectively around 20 times faster than 4G.

How much will the ZTE Axon Pro 10 and 5G services cost you?ZTE Axon 10 pro UAEImage: GSMArena

The 6.47-inch device is priced at AED 5,555 ($1,512) plus 5% value-added tax, TechRadar reports. 

Etisalat notes that customers can purchase the ZTE Axon 10 Pro from Marina mall in Abu Dhabi and Dubai Mall. Additionally, customers may also opt to buy with flexible Smart Pay plans on a 12, 18 or 24-month contract starting from only Dh241 ($65.6).

As for the cost of the 5G service, the company stated that the 5G network will be available for all Etisalat postpaid, prepaid, consumer and business customers using 5G devices. All customers will be able to use existing data packs on the 5G network, at no extra cost. 

Bringing 5G to the Arab World 

Etisalat’s implementation of 5G in the UAE was made possible through a partnership inked with Huawei and Ericsson. Its rivals have made 5G plans of their own too.  

“The company’s prime competitor in the country, du, has partnered with Virgin Mobile to build 5G infrastructure and deploy it in the UAE,” Anup Oommen, business journalist at AMEinfo, reported. “Elsewhere in the GCC, Saudi Telecom has announced a deal with Nokia to bring 5G to Saudi Arabia.”

“Etisalat is constructing more than 1,000 5G towers in the UAE, providing the infrastructure and network to support all 5G devices launched by global mobile device manufacturers like ZTE, Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung,” The National said. “It plans to spend AED 4 billion ($1.01 billion) on digital transformation and improving the mobile and fiber network this year.”

Besides its utility to smartphone users, 5G will enable the widespread rollout of innovative technologies that will shape our future. The Internet of Things, AI, AR, VR, autonomous vehicles, and more will all become much more feasible with the expanded deployment of 5G.

“Etisalat envisions 5G as a stepping-stone to unlimited potential, a technology that will enable new use cases, widen possibilities, and enhance value creation. The fifth generation of the network will fuel digital transformation, IoT, smart cities and the fourth industrial revolution,” said Eissa Mohamed Al-Suwaidi, Chairman, Etisalat Group, at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the company’s headquarters in Abu Dhab during March.