United Arab Emirates (UAE) telco Etisalat has announced plans to invest between AED3.5 billion and AED4 billion (USD950 million to USD1.01 billion) in 2015 as it continues its deployment of fibre-optic and 4G networks. The operator says it will also be carrying out upgrades to existing 2G and 3G mobile networks. Etisalat says it currently covers around 90% of the UAE population with fibre technology, making it one of the most highly connected countries in the world in fibre terms.
Separately, Etisalat has signed an agreement with Swedish vendor Ericsson to collaborate on the development of the next generation of mobile technologies with a view to rolling out the world’s first 5G network in 2019. The two companies say they will ‘exchange knowledge, share pioneering solutions and tap into the potential of 5G technology, which will help deliver the future Networked Society’. The partnership will also be working towards the introduction of a 450Mbps Long Term Evolution (LTE) network using Licence Assisted Access (LAA) technology. Etisalat says it is hoping to launch its ‘4.5G’ network in 2016.