UAE’s Etisalat announces plans to develop 6G technology


UAE-based telecoms provider Etisalat announced on Thursday that it has started developing and looking 6G via conducting research, developing international standards, and R&D, the company said during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Haitham Abdulazzak, Chief Technology Officer, Etisalat shared these insights during his address at the session titled “Setting the roadmap to 6G” at the event.

“The excellent achievements by Etisalat today in 5G coverage, cloud native, slicing, Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) development, AI and automation platforms, as well as high fibre penetration which stands at more than 99 percent of UAE populated area coverage, is a result of the long-term strategy paving the way towards 6G,” Abdulazzak said during his keynote address.

Many have argued that the pandemic has accelerated ten years of technological innovation within the span of 10 weeks.

“Introduction of new features, capabilities and use of millimeter frequencies seen in 5G is a result of this advancement, which is expected to be complemented with terahertz spectrum in 6G,” he added.

With this announcement Etisalat joins the likes of Chinese telecoms titan Huawei, who is already looking to launch two satellites alongside two Chinese partners during July 2021 meant for verifying 6G network technologies.

“As part of our vision and future technology planning, 6G is going beyond earth networks into space to enable new era of services and usage scenarios with terabyte data traffic resulting in extra ordinary human to machine interaction. Etisalat is upgrading tools and capabilities of its R&D centre to enhance the contribution towards 6G global standardisation within the international fora and alliances,” Etisalat’s CTO highlighted.

The 6G network technology involves use of high-frequency terahertz waves to achieve data-transmission speeds 100 times faster than 5G is likely to be capable of. According to Chinese news services, the satellite also carries technology which will be used for crop disaster monitoring and forest fire prevention.

According to a statement by the UAE-based telco, 6G technology requires agile communications governance and increased collaboration across multisector stakeholders. The technology is seen as an enabler of new coverage dimensions in space and maritime in addition to the terrestrial dimension.