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Etisalat Group and Qualcomm Technologies Inc. have signed a strategic agreement to work together to advance the development of next generation network technologies. The collaboration will focus on accelerating 5G standardization to bring forward the possibility of commercially available 5G networks as early as 2019.

As part of the agreement, the two companies will also look to work with regulators (for spectrum capability) and handset manufacturers, to quicken the capability to the next generation of mobile networks. In addition, they aim to conduct a 5G demonstration in MENA region. Qualcomm will provide the chipset, integral to enabling 5G capability of handsets. The agreement was signed by Hatem Bamatraf, chief technology officer International, Etisalat Group, and Jay Srage, president, Qualcomm, Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe.

Commenting on the strategic agreement, Hatem Bamatraf said: "In this fast-changing digital age collaboration is king and we need to look at holistic business solutions to realize the opportunities that digital provides. 5G is critical to realizing the vision of countries around the whole for the Smart City concept, as well as delivering the network capability to meet the rapid rise in demand for data from our customers. By working together, and engaging with the wider mobile eco-system, Etisalat Group and Qualcomm Technologies aim to advance the preparatory development of 5G enabling us to make the service commercially available quicker than expected, which will enhance our customers' experience."

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