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5G World MENA 2016, in its 6th consecutive year, took place at the Conrad Hotel in Dubai from May 9-11. It was the meeting point for operators and vendors across the region looking to develop and evolve their LTE networks, and map out the future road to 5G. The 5G & LTE MENA Awards recognized the fastest, most innovative operators and vendors in the region.

Middle East operators such as Etisalat, Zain, Ooredoo and du are working towards increased network capacity, improved QoS for consumers and better monetization of new and current services. Challenging the leading innovators in the mobile broadband market, they are beginning to drive the connected revolution towards LTE-A, IoT, smart cities and 5G.

The emerging markets of the region continue to rollout LTE and expand their networks. Encountering different challenges and following different business models to their more established neighbours, they are beginning to harness the potential of LTE and drive revenues from new services.

LTE MENA 2016 took a balanced look at both markets. Examining real case studies, the event incorporated advanced issues such as LTE-A, VoLTE, Video, Carrier-aggregation and 5G with LTE rollout success stories from emerging markets. In addition, with the most senior speaker line-up seen to date, the event provided unparalleled networking opportunities, through round table sessions, panel discussions, speed networking, in-depth focus sessions and a considerable exhibition floor bringing together MENA's leading solution providers.

Ericsson marked a strong presence at this year's event, outlining its strategy to drive 5G in the industry via its experience from four generations of mobile networks and strong global 5G engagements. During the event, Ericsson's demonstrated several 5G related technologies including Critical Control of Remote Devices; Media Everywhere; Smart Vehicles Transport & Infrastructure; and Broadband Experience Everywhere Anytime.

""By 2020, we expect 5G to start rolling out to operators' networks in order to cater for the IoT applications and machine type communication,"" said Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Ericsson Region Middle East and Africa. ""Today, it became more important than ever, for operators toestablish their role in IoT by capitalizing on their major asset, the network. Our participation in 5G World Series today aims to support our customers to think how to design their networks so they can leverage the full potential of IoT when 5G arrives.""

At the 5G & LTE MENA Awards, Ericsson was recognized as the Fastest LTE Network (Vendors), and also picked up the award for Best Innovation in HetNet Development (Heterogeneous Network). Huawei was recognized as the Best 5G Innovator, while Viva Kuwait won the award for Fastest LTE Network (Operators). Lastly, Etisalat won the award for Best LTE Test Measurement Solution, while ADVA Optical Networking was recognized for NFV Innovation of the Year.

The awards were independently judged by an expert panel of impartial industry analysts, who scored each submission on the criteria set for each category. The 2016 panel of judges included: Toni Eid, CEO Trace Media International; Karim Taga, Managing Partner Arthur D.Little; Faisal Hakki, General Manager Arab Advisors; Michael Fritsch, Management Consulting Technology and Telecommunications; and Alberto Diez, Principal Consultant Mobile Plots.

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